The High Court yesterday rejected BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s bail petition in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case, in which she has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment by a lower court.
After hearing the arguments on the bail petition, the HC bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice SM Kuddus Zaman came up with the order considering the gravity of the offence mentioned in the case, and some other issues.
“We have gone through the impugned judgment and order of conviction and sentence but did not notice any apparent or glaring infirmity in the same,” the bench said in the order.
The HC said Attorney General Mahbubey Alam has assured this court as to his readiness for an expeditious hearing of the appeal against the trial court verdict and therefore, there is no possibility of delay in hearing the appeal on merit.
“In the above view of the matter we do not find any cogent reason for granting the appellant bail at this point of time. Accordingly, the application for bail is rejected,” the HC judges said in the order.
Khaleda Zia’s lawyer Advocate Zainul Abedin told The Daily Star that the senior lawyers for the BNP chairperson would meet today to decide whether an appeal will be moved before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court against the HC order.
The HC on July 30 started hearing the bail petition filed by Khaleda on November 18 last year in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.
Khandker Mahbub Hossain, Zainul Abedin and AM Mahbub Uddin argued for Khaleda’s bail before the HC, while Mahbubey Alam and Anti-Corruption Commission’s lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan opposed the petition.
On October 29 last year, a special court in Dhaka convicted Khaleda in the case and sentenced her to seven years’ imprisonment in her absence.
It also awarded the same jail term to Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to then prime minister Khaleda Zia, Harris’s assistant and personal secretary Ziaul Haq Munna, and Monirul Islam Khan, assistant personal secretary to then Dhaka mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
The ACC filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station on August 8, 2011.
The BNP chief landed in jail after being sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case by the same court on February 8.
The HC on October 30 enhanced her punishment to 10 years in the case after dismissing her appeal.