Trial proceedings to continue in Khaleda's absence: Court

Graft case trial to be on at old jail in Khaleda’s absence

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Dhaka. Sept 20 – The Special Judge Court-5 of Dhaka Thursday ordered that the trial proceedings in Zia Charitable Trust graft case will continue at the abandoned Old Central Jail in the absence of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia.Judge Dr Md Akhteruzzaman of the special court passed the order following a petition of the prosecution. The court fixed September 24, 25 and 26 for submission of arguments in the case.
Aminul Islam, a lawyer for another accused in the case Ziaul Islam Munna, submitted arguments partially on Thursday.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol filed a petition on September 13 to deliver the verdict in the case seeking completion of the trial in absence of Khaleda Zia as she did not appear before the court for the last several months due to her illness. The ACC petition further says that the trial proceedings may continue in absence of the accused under section 540/A of the Penal Code. Later, on September 13, the court fixed to deliver a verdict on September 20.
On September 4, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry issued a gazette notification to hold the trial of Khaleda Zia in the case at the Old Dhaka Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road after setting up a makeshift court there.
The decision, it said, was made taking Khaleda Zia’s security into consideration. Previously, the trial used to be held at another makeshift court in Bakshibazar area.
However, the following day, (September 5) Khaleda Zia was produced before the special court-5 when she stated that she is sick and she will neither be able to appear before the court repeatedly nor can stay there for a long time.
The case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) with Tejgaon Model Police Station in August 2011 accusing Khaleda Zia and three others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.
The other three accused are Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary to Harris and Monirul Islam Khan, APS to former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
The BNP chairperson is now at Nazimuddin Road central jail, serving five years’ rigorous imprisonment as she was convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8 this year. – Special Correspondent

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