MiG-29 case charge-framing hearing Apr 9
After getting clearance from the Supreme Court, a Dhaka court yesterday fixed April 9 for hearing on charge framing against detained former premier Sheikh Hasina and six others in connection with the MiG-29 corruption case.
Judge Golam Mortuza Majumder of the Special Court for Dhaka Division passed the order after the prosecution informed the court about the March 18 Supreme Court judgement that finally cleared the way for resuming the stalled trial proceedings.
The court directed the jail authorities to produce Hasina, now under treatment at Square Hospital in the capital, before the court on the scheduled date.
The court also asked six other accused in the case to appear before it the same day.
Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Mohammad Khalequzzaman told the trial court the Supreme Court on March 18 dismissed the leave to appeal petition submitted by Hasina against the High Court order that asked for revival of the case.
Four accused, former army chief Mustafizur Rahman, air commodore (retd) Mirza Akhter Maruf, former joint secretary Mohammad Hossain Serniabat and managing director of Unique Group Nur Ali, were present at the court while former defence secretary Syed Yusuf Hossain was absent submitting a time petition in this regard.
Former air force chief Jamaluddin Ahmed was absent but failed to submit any petition in this regard.
On September 6 last year, the High Court vacated the stay order passed by a High Court bench given after seven writ petitions were filed to quash the case. The High Court order removed the legal bar to start the proceedings of the case.
According to the case filed with Tejgaon Police Station against Hasina and four top defence officials, the purchase of eight MiG-29 fighter jets during the tenure of the Awami League government caused a loss of Tk 700 crore to the public exchequer.
The names of Brig Gen (retd) Iftekhar-Ul-Bashar and former deputy secretary Hasan Mahmood Delwar were dropped from the list of accused due to lack of evidence while former army chief Mustafizur Rahman, air commodore (retd) Mirza Akhter Maruf, former joint secretary Hossain Serniabat and businessman Nur Ali were indicted in the case after investigators found their involvement in the alleged scam.
Inspector Abdullah Al Zahid of now-defunct Bureau of Anti-corruption submitted the charge sheet to Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka on December 11, 2001, showing 40 people as prosecution witnesses.
Later, all the accused including Hasina filed petitions with the High Court on different dates for quashing the case. Following their petitions, the High Court stayed the case proceedings.
Hasina was arrested on July 16 last year after businessman Azam J Chowdhury filed an extortion case against her.
Four other cases were also filed against her on different dates.
DMP COMMISSIONER'S PLEA
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner on February 26 appealed to the government for setting up a Sessions Court adjacent to the sub-jail where Hasina has been kept and holding the trial of the MiG-29 corruption case there due to security concerns.
But sources said police are yet to get any response from the government for the purpose.
The commissioner said the Special Court for Dhaka Division is located between the chief metropolitan magistrate's court and Jagannath University. The presence of Hasina and other accused in the court during trial of the case is essential.
A large number of people will gather on the court premises to know about the trial posing problems for security personnel. It is necessary to set up a sessions court adjacent to the sub-jail where Hasina has been kept to ensure her safety, he said.