Govt seeks stay on Khaleda's bail
The Anti-Corruption Commission and the government filed two petitions with the Supreme Court yesterday seeking stay on the High Court order that granted bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
After holding a brief hearing on the petitions, Chamber Judge Justice Hassan Foez Siddique of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court forwarded those to the court's full bench for their hearing today.
Khaleda on Monday secured four months' bail from the HC. On the very day, she was shown arrested in an arson attack case filed in Comilla.
The BNP chief's lawyers yesterday submitted two petitions with as many courts in Dhaka seeking their order to recall two production warrants issued against Khaleda in the Gatco and Barapukuria coalmine graft cases.
Meanwhile, another Dhaka court yesterday issued a production warrant against Khaleda asking the jail authorities to produce her before it on March 28-29 in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
BNP lawyers said even if the HC bail order is upheld by the full bench of the SC, Khaleda might not walk out of jail soon as production warrants have been issued against her in other cases.
Khaleda has been facing arrest warrants in five more cases filed with different courts in Dhaka and Comilla. Of them, three were filed in Comilla in connection with arson attacks and two in Dhaka over defamation and “celebration of fake birthday”.
The BNP chairperson, now behind bars in the Zia Orphanage graft case, faces 33 more cases.
Talking to The Daily Star, Khaleda's lawyer Moudud Ahmed said, “The government is trying to delay her release by taking various measures. We will take necessary legal actions.”
Zainul Abedin, one of the counsels for the BNP chief, said Khaleda would have to secure bail from the trial court concerned in the Comilla arson case.
The copy of the HC bail order would reach the jail authorities by today as the order was released yesterday, he added.
The former prime minister landed in jail on February 8 after the Dhaka Special Court-5 had sentenced her to imprisonment.
Since then, the BNP has been observing various agitation programmes, including hunger strike, human chain and demonstration demanding release of the party chief.
BNP leaders alleged that the government was hatching a conspiracy to hold a lopsided parliamentary election keeping Khaleda and her party out of it.
SUPREME COURT PROCEEDINGS
The Supreme Court is set to hold hearing on the two petitions today.
The petitions, filed yesterday by the ACC and the government, have been included as first and second items in today's cause-list of the four-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, for hearing, according to the SC website.
After a brief hearing on the petitions yesterday, the chamber judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court did not issue any stay order, meaning that the HC bail order would remain in force until the apex court's further order.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told this correspondent that the issues of Khaleda's bail is now within the purview of the SC, as two petitions have been moved before it.
LOWER COURT PROCEEDINGS
A Dhaka court yesterday issued a production warrant against Khaleda asking the jail authorities to produce her before it on March 28-29 in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Special Judge Court-5 issued the order after the prosecution had submitted a petition seeking for production warrant against the BNP chief.
About the petition, ACC Public Prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajal told the court that Khaleda was earlier convicted and sentenced to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
As she is now in jail, she cannot appear before the court. Therefore, a production warrant should be issued against her, the lawyer argued.
The ACC filed the corruption case with Tejgaon Police Station in August 2011, accusing Khaleda and three others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.
Khaleda's lawyer Sanaullah Miah yesterday submitted two petitions with Dhaka courts seeking their order to recall two production warrants issued against the BNP chief.
The judges concerned of the courts asked the lawyer to submit the HC bail order to them. As the lawyer failed to comply, the courts did not issue any order in this regard, said court sources.