A Dhaka court yesterday set March 22 for the hearing on charge framing against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and six others in the Barapukuria coalmine graft case.
Judge (in charge) Md Nazrul Islam of the Special Judge's Court-2 of Dhaka passed the order after a petition was filed with the court on behalf of Khaleda, seeking an adjournment of the hearing, Advocate Masud Ahmed Talukder, one of her lawyers, told The Daily Star.
In the petition, Masud said Khaleda, who is now out of jail following an executive order of the government, is unwell and cannot leave her residence due to Covid-19 pandemic. So, the hearing should be adjourned.
During the hearing, two other accused including BNP leader Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, now on bail, were present in the court while three others, including Mozammel Hossain, were absent.
Another accused Md Sirajul Islam has been absconding.
On February 26, 2008, ACC filed the case with Shahbagh Police Station, accusing 16 people including Khaleda and 10 of her former cabinet colleagues of taking Tk 159 crore in kickbacks on the Barapukuria coalmine deal awarded to the highest bidder.
The ACC pressed charges against Khaleda and 15 others in the graft case on October 5, 2008.
Seven accused including former ministers M Saifur Rahman and Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan died during the trial, while Jamaat leaders Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid and Motiur Rahman Nizami were executed on charges of committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
So, the nine were dropped from the trial.