Graft charges false: Khaleda
A Dhaka court yesterday granted bail to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, recalling the warrant for her arrest in two graft cases tied to Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust, and instructed her to take court's permission next time for leaving the country.
The BNP chief was present during the hearing on her bail petitions, a day after she returned home from London living with her elder son Tarique Rahman for three months.
Granted bail, Khaleda was given permission by Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman, of the Special Court-5, to speak in self-defence when she claimed the cases were “imaginary, fabricated and full of contradictions.”
She also said the allegations of misappropriation of money in the cases were false and intended to harass her.
Earlier in February, the BNP chief began giving her statement in self-defense, but the court on October 12 issued the arrest warrant voiding her statement submitted until then. The arrest warrant was issued in response to a petition filed by the state seeking such a warrant for her going to London without the court's permission.
Flanked by her party's senior leaders and lawyers, Khaleda yesterday surrendered at the makeshift court of the special Judge at the city's Bakshibazar around 11:15am.
In July 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda, her eldest son Tarique, and four others of misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore that had come as grants from a foreign bank for orphans.
Three years later, the ACC filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon police, accusing four people, including Khaleda, of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.
Delivering her statement for about an hour yesterday, Khaleda sought permission from the court to give the rest part of her statement in the next hearing that the court then set on October 26.
SCUFFLE OF KHALEDA'S LAWYERS
Immediately after the BNP chief left the court area around 1:30pm, her lawyers started jostling to get center stage before television cameras during a media briefing.
Pushing and shoving each other on the court premises then turned into scuffles, resulting in tearing off of clothes of a pro-BNP lawyer.
The incident occurred when President of Dhaka Bar Association Khorshed Alam, a lawyer of Khaleda, and his associates began arguing with her another lawyer Mirza Al Mahmud regarding taking position during the briefing.
Lawyers were seen punching each other and hurling insults. A female lawyer was also seen attacking her fellow colleague. The situation came under control in a couple of minutes following intervention of senior lawyers.
Khaleda said there was no fair and normal atmosphere in the country at present suitable for getting justice. Judiciary and judges cannot carry out their job independently and normally due to the ruling quarter's various kinds of interference and influence.
“Judges have to depend on the government's will” regarding delivering verdicts, decisions and ruling, she said.
Referring to the chief justice's remarks that the judges are not independent, Khaleda said people therefore were concerned about getting justice.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been interfering in the cases' proceedings by making defamatory remarks against her, she added.
Pointing to several corruption cases against Hasina, the BNP chief said Hasina's close relative Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Awami League's present General Secretary Obaidul Quader had spoken vehemently of corruption and misappropriation of money against Hasina during interrogations.
“But those cases were withdrawn and settled one after another after Hasina came to power [in 2009],” Khaleda said.