Khaleda asked to face court Sept 22
A Dhaka court today asked BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to appear before it on September 22 in connection with Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases.
Judge Bashudeb Roy of the Special Judge’s Court-3 came up with the order after rejecting two petitions filed by the defence seeking adjournment of hearing in the cases.
The defence prayed to the court to adjourn the hearing until the Supreme Court decides on the leave to appeal filed by Khaleda regarding the appointment of Judge Roy, who framed charges against her in the two graft cases.
On March 19, the judge indicted Khaleda, her son and BNP Senior Vice Chairman Tarique Rahman and seven others in the cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The BNP chief was not present at the makeshift court, located in Bakshibazar area, during today’s proceedings.
PANDEMONIUM IN COURTROOM
The courtroom plunged into chaos when the prosecution and defence engaged in an altercation during the recording of complaint’s statement.
Judge Roy left the courtroom during commotion, halting the day’s proceedings. The court resumed after half an hour when the atmosphere calmed down.
ZIA ORPHANAGE CASE
The ACC accused Khaleda, Tarique and four others of embezzling Tk 2.1 crore by forming the Zia Orphanage Trust that exists only on paper.
The other four accused are former BNP lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque, businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, Khaleda's former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddiqui and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman's nephew Momenur Rahman.
Of them, Kamal and Momenur are on the run.
The complainant alleged that a grant of $1,255,000 (around Tk 4.45 crore that time) was transferred from the United Saudi Commercial Bank to the Prime Minister's Orphanage Fund created by the then premier Khaleda shortly before the transfer was made on June 9, 1991.
It was done as part of the embezzlement scheme, and only Khaleda administered the fund, added the complainant.
ZIA CHARITABLE TRUST CASE
During the four-party alliance government's tenure, Khaleda and three others abused power to set up a Charitable Trust named after Ziaur Rahman, according to the commission.
The other three accused are Harris Chowdhury, Khaleda's former political secretary, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary of Harris, and Monirul Islam Khan, APS of former Dhaka City Corporation mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Harris is absconding while Monirul and Munna are on bail. The court issued arrest warrant for Harris yesterday.
The ACC mentioned that the money spent for establishing the trust was collected from different sources, using the influence of the office of prime minister in 2005.