Khaleda's Graft Case: BNP wary of Feb 8 verdict

Party top brass sit today to decide next course of action

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has called an emergency meeting of her party's standing committee today as a Dhaka court fixed January 8 for announcing the verdict in a graft case filed against her.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30pm at the party chief's Gulshan office, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told The Daily Star.

He said the meeting would discuss the country's overall political situation and the latest developments.

Seeking anonymity, a BNP standing committee member said the meeting would mainly discuss the issues relating to the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case and the party's next course of action over the issue.

The BNP chief's son Tarique Rahman and four others were also accused in the case. The Special Court-5 in Dhaka on Thursday fixed January 8 for delivering the verdict.

Khaleda faces 31 more cases. The same court on Thursday set January 30 for resuming proceedings in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.

According to BNP sources, the party is considering taking to the streets if the verdict goes against Khaleda.

Senior BNP leaders on different occasions had threatened that they would announce tougher agitation programmes if the judgment went against the party chief.

Meanwhile, BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy yesterday warned that the consequences would be “very bad” if the court gave any “negative verdict” against Khaleda.

He was addressing a discussion organised by Nagorik Odhikar Andolon at the Jatiya Press Club, marking the third death anniversary of the BNP chief's younger son Arafat Rahman Koko.

If Khaleda is convicted of graft, a disastrous situation might be created in the country, no matter whether the BNP announces any protest programme or not, Gayeshwar added.

He said people would give a befitting reply if the government tried to take “political revenge” on Khaleda by using the court.

The BNP leader alleged that the Awami League was plotting to keep his party away from the next parliamentary polls as the ruling party had no ability to contest against the BNP.

On Thursday, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir expressed fear that the verdicts in the two graft cases against Khaleda and the other accused would be pronounced “as per the prime minister's desire”.


Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday said stern actions would be taken if anyone tried to create anarchy centering the verdict in the orphanage trust graft case, reports UNB.

The minister was talking to reporters after attending a function organised marking the Metropolitan Family Day in the city's Dhakeshwari temple.

“The law is equal for all. If anybody tries to create anarchy over the     verdict, action will be taken. Members of our law enforcement agencies have been put on alert in this regard.”

In July 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission had filed the orphanage trust graft case with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda and five others of misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore that had come as grants for orphans from a foreign bank.