The High Court yesterday rejected a petition filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia seeking stay on the trial proceedings against her in Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
The court, however, ordered the Supreme Court registrar general and the law secretary to take steps to ensure that the witnesses of the cases take oath before testifying at the trial courts under the relevant rules.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice JBM Hassan passed the order after hearing the petition.
Barrister Bodruddoza Badal, a lawyer for Khaleda, told The Daily Star that his client would move an appeal before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court against the HC's rejection order.
The BNP chief filed the petition with the HC on December 6 last year saying that 32 prosecution witnesses of the Zia Charitable case did not take oath as per the law before their statements were recorded by the trial court.
She also prayed in the petition to order the lower court to cancel the statements given by the witnesses.
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday adjourned the hearings on Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage corruption cases against Khaleda until January 26.
The BNP chief appeared before the makeshift court at Bakshibazar around 10:45am and the court allowed her to sit on a chair inside the courtroom. She left the courtroom around 1:05pm after the proceedings were over.
Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar of the Special Judge Court-3 fixed the date for hearing on the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case after Khaleda filed a time petition before it seeking adjournment.
Nur Ahmed, an Anti-Corruption Commission official who conducted primary enquiry into the case and also a prosecution witness, gave his statement before the court in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case in the presence of Khaleda.
On January 5, the same court allowed a petition submitted by Khaleda for recording statement of Nur Ahmed.
After the hearing, the court asked Khaleda to appear before it on January 26 and place her self-defence statement in connection with the cases.
On August 8, 2011, the ACC filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing four people, including Khaleda, of raising funds for the trust from unknown sources abusing power.
The Zia Orphanage graft case was filed by the ACC on July 3, 2008, with Ramna Police Station for misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore that was received as grants for orphans via a foreign bank.