A Dhaka court yesterday deferred the hearing on charge framing against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and 16 others in the Gatco graft case till April 30, as the BNP chief could not appear before the court due to illness.
Judge Abu Syed Diljar Hossain of Special Judge's Court-3 of Dhaka passed the order after Khaleda's lawyer Md Zakir Hossain Bhuiyan prayed to adjourn the hearing.
The authorities are yet to hand over some important documents to the defence lawyers required for preparing their arguments, the lawyer also said.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Public Prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol told the court that the hearing on charge framing cannot continue in absence of Khaleda, a prime accused in the case.
Fourteen accused, including former BNP ministers Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, AKM Mosharraf Hossain and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury were present at the court.
ACC filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station, accusing Khaleda and several others of misappropriating around Tk 1,000 crore while dealing with Global Agro Trade (Pvt) Company Ltd (Gatco).
On May 13, 2008, the anti-graft watchdog pressed charges against Khaleda and 23 others.
Meanwhile, seven other accused, including Khaleda's younger son Arafat Rahman Koko, were dropped from the charge sheet after their deaths.