Court upholds Khaleda’s arrest warrant
A Dhaka court today upheld the arrest warrants issued against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable graft cases.
After refusing to entertain the petitions filed seeking withdrawal of Khaleda’s arrest warrants, Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar of the special judge's court-3 said the February 25 order on the BNP chief’s arrest will remain effective.
As per law, none can file such petition on behalf of any fugitive accused, Judge Jamadar said after hearing the petitions.
The court also fixed April 5 for further hearing in the cases.
It also allowed defence counsel Sanaullah Mia to represent another accused Tarique Rahman at the court in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case in his absence.
Sanaullah has been representing Tarique, the BNP vice chairman and elder son of Khaleda, as per court order as he is now in London.
The court proceedings started around 11:20am in absence of Khaleda, who skipped the hearing on security ground despite the arrest warrants against her.
Earlier in the day, Sanaullah filed two fresh petitions before the court of Judge Jamadar seeking withdrawal of the arrest warrants issued against her in the two graft cases.
The defence yesterday filed the same petitions with the Dhaka Judge’s Court, the main court room of Judge Jamadar. The petitions were filed again today as those were not filed in a proper way, Sanaullah said adding it must be submitted to the makeshift court at Bakshibazar Alia Madrasa, which is dealing with the two cases.
On February 25, the court ordered the arrest of Khaleda for skipping court hearing on four consecutive dates in the two graft cases. Police yesterday said they were yet to receive the orders.
Gulshan police, however, received a court order to search Khaleda's office for communication devices only hours after it was issued on Sunday. Police were yet to search her office till this afternoon.
When the special court on February 25 ordered Khaleda's arrest, it also ordered Sanaullah to produce Tarique before the court today.
Asked about this, Sanaullah said, "I could not contact him."
CALL FOR WITHDRAWING ARREST WARRANTS
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s lawyers today demanded withdrawal of the arrest warrant against her in connection with the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases.
The demand was made hours after Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar of Special Judge's Court-3 upheld the arrest warrant against the BNP chief.
Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar passed the order although a no-confidence petition against him remain pending with the High Court, said Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).
Addressing a press conference at his SCBA office, Khandaker Mahbub also said the judge upheld the arrest warrants illegally and unethically.
The SCBA president claimed that the HC had granted bail to Khaleda in the cases in 2008, but the lower court cancelled her bail without issuing any show cause notice to her bail guarantor.
The BNP chief is respectful to the law and she will appear before the court in the cases if she gets sufficient security and get guarantee of returning to her office, Khandaker Mahbub said.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS CLOSED FOR TODAY
The authorities of English medium schools located in Gulshan-2 area kept their schools closed fearing violence centering Khaleda’s appearance before the court today.
Scholastica, Australian International School, Canadian International School and also other English medium schools, which were opened during the hartal days but all of those schools were shut today.
The schools were closed as per the instruction from the higher authorities as a panic gripped the people over the issue, Abdul Hannan, guard of Australian International School in the area, told our correspondent while visiting the area.
A security guard of Canadian International School told our correspondent that his school was kept closed as the authorities were worried about law and order situation of the area.