Hasina denied bail in Niko graft case | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 06, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 06, 2008

Hasina denied bail in Niko graft case

A special court yesterday rejected the bail prayer of former prime minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina in the Niko graft case.
Judge Amar Kumar Roy of the Special Court-2 passed the order, and set June 10 for hearing on charge framing against Hasina and eight others in the case, following defence plea for extension of time.
In its order, the court said since Emergency Power Rules (EPR) are in force, there is no scope for entertaining such bail petitions as the EPR revoke the right to seek bail by an accused facing graft charges under the Corruption Prevention Act 1947.
The former premier filed the bail petition on June 1.
The detained AL chief was taken to the special court at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban complex around 10:00am. Two other accused in the case -- former power secretary Dr Toufique-e-Elahi Chowdhury and former state minister for power Rafiqul Islam -- were also produced before the court.
The court also turned down a bail petition by a counsel for Rafiqul Islam on the same grounds.
The counsel, Syed Rezaur Rahman, made a plea for Rafiqul's bail saying he is undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for diabetes, asthma and cardiac problems.
The prosecution strongly opposed Rafiqul's bail prayer.
Opposing the defence plea for time, the prosecution said relevant papers and documents relating to the Niko case are available every day during court hours for examination by defence counsels.
So, there is no reason for granting time extension, and the hearing should start today (Thursday), they argued.
Later, talking to newsmen, defence lawyers said there is no criminal offence in this case, and the government has vindictively filed it to harass Hasina.
Terming the case 'ridiculous', advocate Quamrul Islam said the then premier Hasina had only approved a draft policy, which did not cause any loss to the government or the country.
They would soon move to the High Court in consultation with other senior lawyers, he said.
The defence lawyers also said Hasina is eligible for bail since she is sick, and aged. Moreover, one of the charge-sheeted accused in the case has been granted bail, so she also should get bail, they added.
Quamrul quoted Hasina as saying, “Although we are talking about independence of the judiciary, it is not independent. Judges do not have independence, and they are doing what they have been asked to do.”
On December 9 last year, ACC Deputy Director MM Sabbir Hasan filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station.
On May 7 this year, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) pressed charges against Hasina and the eight others.
The charge sheet mentions that the deal was given to Niko in an illegal way without floating tenders, allowing it to extract 1,794 billion cubic feet (bcf) gas from a reserve of 2,834 bcf. And this caused the country a loss of Tk 13,630.50 crore on the basis of the then price of gas.

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