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HC rejects Khaleda’s bail plea in Zia Trust graft case
Khaleda Zia at court in wheelchair, Photo. Courtesy - UNB

HC rejects Khaleda’s bail plea in Zia Trust graft case

Dhaka, July 31 – The High Court (HC) on Tuesday summarily rejected a bail petition filed by BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case in which she was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.The HC bench comprising Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice SM Kuddus Zaman passed the order after hearing from both sides on the bail petition for two days.
However, Khaleda’s lawyers told reporters that they would file appeal with the Supreme Court against the High Court order after receiving the copy of the High Court’s rejection order.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Khaleda’s lawyers including Advocate Khandaker Mahbub Hossain prayed to the High Court for her bail on humanitarian ground as she was a woman and suffering from illness because of her jail custody since February 8, 2018.
They submitted that Khaleda has been suffering from different diseases including diabetes and dental problem, and she has already served two years and a half in jail in this case and therefore she deserves bail in the case.
However, Attorney general Mahbubey Alam and Anti-Corruption Commission’s lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan vehemently opposed granting bail to Khaleda.
They said that the BNP chief took all legal facilities during the trial proceedings in the case. The lower court sentenced her to seven years’ imprisonment after the HC and the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court completed all phases of trial proceedings challenged by Khaleda Zia.
They also said that all formalities relating to the appeal of Khaleda Zia in the case has already completed in the meantime. The appeal is ready for hearing and we want to complete the appeal hearing expeditiously, they added.
After that the HC bench came up with the rejection order. In its order, the HC bench said that taking into account of the gravity of the offence committed by a person like Begum Khaleda Zia who was the prime minister of this Country, the bail application is hereby summarily rejected.
It also said that the appeal can be heard expeditiously.
Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, Advocate Joynul Abedin, Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokan and Barrister Kayser Kamal, among others, stood for Khaleda.
A special court sentenced Khaleda to seven years in jail in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case on October 29, 2018. Three others, including her former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, were also convicted.
The BNP chief moved the High Court against the verdict.
Justice Obaidul Hassan-led bench then ordered the subordinate court to send documents within two months.
The court said the bail petition would be heard when the documents arrive. The documents reached the High Court on June 20.
Former Prime Minister Khaleda has been in jail since February 2018, after she was jailed for corruption in the Zia Orphanage Trust case. Her jail term was later doubled.
She has moved the Appellate Division, challenging her conviction.
Her party, the BNP, claims that the cases against her are politically motivated and aimed at keeping her out of politics. The government denies the allegation. – Staff Reporter