BNP workers and activists clashed with police yesterday when a large number of them accompanying party chief Khaleda Zia tried to enter a court premises during the hearing of a case against her.
At least 10 people including three policemen were injured during the clash. BNP men vandalised at least two cars at that time, eyewitnesses said.
The former premier appeared before the Special Judge's Court-3 of Judge Bashudev Roy at Government Alia Madrasa at Bakshibazar around 1:05pm and left around 1:45pm.
Hundreds of leaders and activists of BNP and its front organisations thronged the court premises to welcome their party chairperson in the morning. A large number of police were deployed in the area with armoured personnel vehicles and water cannons to thwart any untoward incidents.
Witnesses said the clash erupted around 1:10pm, just after Khaleda entered the court. Initially police tried to disperse the crowd by charging truncheons but things went out of control when the BNP men threw brickbats at the law enforcers.
Police then lobbed tear shells and fired rubber bullets triggering the clash which spread to Bakshibazar, Palashi and in front of the Shaheed Fazle Rabbi Hall of Dhaka Medical College.
Mehedi Hasan, additional deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, claimed that a group of activists tried to enter the Madrasa area with Khaleda. Police had to resist them to ensure the BNP chief's security, he said.
The court, meanwhile, fixed September 10 to record deposition of the complainant in connection with Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage Trust graft cases filed against Khaleda Zia and eight others.
Khaleda was asked to appear before the court on that day. The court came up with the order in response to two petitions filed by a defence counsel seeking adjournment to the deposition.
In the petitions, lawyer Khandaker Mahbub Hossain said they had earlier submitted four leave-to-appeal petitions with the Supreme Court challenging the legality of the four High Court orders, which were pending for hearing yesterday.
On April 23, an HC bench scrapped two petitions in which the BNP chairperson had challenged the charge framing against her in the cases. On June 19, another HC bench rejected two writ petitions filed by Khaleda questioning the legality of appointment of Bashudev Roy as judge of the Special Judge's Court-3 of Dhaka.
Roy indicted the BNP chief and the eight others in the corruption cases on March 19. On that day, the judge had asked the BNP chief to appear before the court yesterday in two cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission against Khaleda, her elder son Tarique Rahman and seven others.
Of the nine accused, Khaleda and four others are now on bail. Tarique, also vice-chairman of BNP, is on bail in the Orphanage Trust graft case but his lawyer represented him in his absence. The other three accused remain absconding.
ZIA ORPHANAGE GRAFT CASE
The ACC in July 2009 filed the Zia Orphanage graft case against Khaleda, Tarique Rahman and four others for embezzling over Tk 2.1 crore through the “fake” trust.
The four others accused are former BNP lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque, businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddiqui and Momenur Rahman -- a nephew of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman.
ZIA CHARITABLE TRUST GRAFT CASE
The ACC on August 8 in 2011 filed the Zia charitable graft case against Khaleda and three others for abusing power in setting up the charity.
The three other accused are Harris Chowdhury, Khaleda's former political secretary, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary (APS) of Harris, and Monirul Islam Khan, APS of former Dhaka City Corporation mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Harris, Momenur and Kamal Uddin remain absconding.