Khaleda's Bail: SC verdict on appeals against HC order today
The Supreme Court is set to deliver today the verdict on the two appeals against the High Court bail order for BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The appeals have been included as item no-3 in the day's cause-list of the apex court.
The High Court on March 12 granted bail to Khaleda who landed in jail on February 8 after a trial court had sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the case.
Later, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the government moved the appeals before the Appellate Division of the SC challenging the bail order.
After hearing arguments from prosecution and defence lawyers, a four-member bench of the SC, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, on May 9 fixed May 15 for delivering the verdict on the appeals.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Khaleda's lawyer Kayser Kamal expressed hope that the SC would grant bail to his client taking into consideration her old age, health condition, short sentence and social status.
“We expect that Khaleda Zia will get bail from the Supreme Court. The apex court will consider the grounds of her bail -- her old age, illness, short period of sentence and social status -- as she is a former prime minister of the country and currently the chief of the largest political party.”
Replying to a query, Kayser said Khaleda would walk out of jail if the SC granted her bail and the government did not “interfere in the process”.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan hoped the SC would allow its appeal.
Khaleda's lawyers could not refute the arguments the ACC had placed before the SC against the HC order, he told this correspondent.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam also expressed optimism that the SC would allow the two appeals.
On February 8, the Special Judge's Court-5 of Dhaka sentenced Khaleda to jail after it had found her and five others guilty in the graft case.
The court sentenced Khaleda's elder son Tarique Rahman, now in the UK, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment each, and fined them a total of Tk 2.10 crore, saying that all the convicts have to pay the fine in equal amounts.
The ACC had filed the case with Ramna Police Station in July 2008, accusing the six of misappropriating over Tk 2.1 crore that came from a foreign bank as grants for orphans.
'ENSURE KHALEDA'S TREATMENT'
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir last night voiced deep concern over Khaleda's “deteriorated health condition” in jail.
Speaking at a press conference at the party chairperson's Gulshan office, he demanded the government immediately take steps for better treatment of the BNP chief.
Earlier in the day, Khaleda's five relatives met her in jail.
“We've come to know from madam's family members that her health condition has seriously deteriorated. She is so sick that she can't move her left hand. We're deeply worried over her deteriorating health condition,” Fakhrul said.
He warned that the government would be held responsible if anything bad happened to Khaleda.