AL for justice to Khaleda | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 04, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 04, 2007

AL for justice to Khaleda

Terms fresh graft case against Hasina baseless

Zillur Rahman

The Awami League (AL) yesterday described the graft case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission against Sheikh Hasina on Sunday as "baseless" and called for justice to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
"She [Khaleda] was a prime minister of the country; so we think she has a right to justice as a citizen of the country," said the AL's acting President Zillur Rahman on the arrest of their arch political foe at a press briefing at his Gulshan residence.
He, however, said the BNP chairperson has access to legal assistance as there are courts in the country.
Zillur termed the ACC's case against Hasina regrettable and said people would not believe that she could receive kickbacks from power companies in a bid to buy land for Bangabandhu Memorial Trust.
"Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana are the two successors of Bangabandhu and they don't have any property in the capital.
"They donated their inherited Bangabandhu Bhaban (in the capital) to Bangabandhu Memorial Trust," he said.
The veteran AL leader said it is laughable that Hasina took bribe to buy land for the trust when she donated her own house to it for the welfare of the people.
He said several thousand people, including poor students, get stipend regularly from the trust.
Hoping that they would get justice in the "false and baseless" case against Hasina, the AL leader vowed to carry on with legal battle in a bid to get his party chief released.
"We're not mulling over any other alternatives".
The ACC case statement said Hasina and six other people helped Wartsila Power Development Ltd Consortium and its two local partners win a deal on setting up three 100 megawatt barge-mount power plant in Khulna, Shikalbaha and Haripur, depriving the lowest bidder.
The three companies paid Tk 3 crore in kickbacks, which was spent on buying a house at Dhanmondi for the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust, according to the case statement.
On whether the government earned neutrality by arresting Khaleda and Hasina, Zillur said they don't want to compare the two leaders, adding that it would be ludicrous if the government tries to do so.
He claimed that Sheikh Hasina turned the country into a golden Bangla by solving power crisis and lowering prices of essentials during her tenure in office.
"Khaleda Zia, on the other hand, turned the country into a failed state: she is responsible for all the crises the country is now into," the former AL general secretary alleged, adding that the BNP-led coalition government resorted to wholesale corruption, misrule, torture and repression and desecrated the country.
The Khaleda-led coalition government also destroyed the entire electoral process, he alleged.
"So we don't want to compare the two leaders. We don't want to denigrate one or uplift the other through comparison," said Zillur.
Alleging that many BNP leaders who were involved in corruption have not yet been arrested, Zillur questioned why cases have not been filed against Tarique Rahman when he presided over widespread corruption during the tenure of the previous coalition government.
"Corruption cases should be filed against Tarique Rahman at first," he observed.
He expressed his dissatisfaction over the government's stance on Jamaat-e-Islami and asked to know why no cases have been filed against the party's top brass.
"The government should look into the matter," he suggested.
AL leaders Motia Chowdhury, Ataur Rahman Khan Kaiser, Maj Gen (retd) Subid Ali Bhuiyan and Advocate Rahmat Ali were, among others, present at the briefing.

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