Khaleda not in Court: SC to decide today if case can continue
The Supreme Court is set to deliver an order today on an appeal filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia challenging the High Court judgement that allowed a lower court to continue trial of the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case against her in her absence.
A seven-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain fixed the date for passing the order after concluding hearing on the leave-to-appeal petition filed by Khaleda.
Meantime, the Special Judge Court-5 of Dhaka is scheduled today to deliver a judgement in the same case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
After the SC set the date for passing the order, Advocate AJ Mohammad Ali, a lawyer for Khaleda, told The Daily Star that it depends on the apex court order whether the lower court would deliver the verdict today.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters at his office that if the Appellate Division rejected Khaleda's petition, the trial court set up in old Dhaka central jail would have not bar from delivering its verdict today.
Otherwise, the trial court would not give the verdict, he added.
During hearing yesterday, Khaleda's counsel Advocate Ali told the SC that the trial of his client in the Zia Charitable Trust case could not continue in her absence as she has been sick.
ACC lawyer Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan and the attorney general argued that the trial court had decided to run the trial in absence of Khaleda as she voluntarily refused to appear before the court in connection with the case.
The court on September 20 decided to continue the trial inside the old Dhaka central jail in her absence.
Khaleda on September 27 filed a revision petition with the HC challenging the court's September 20 order.
The HC on October 14 rejected the revision petition of Khaleda and cleared the way for the trial court to continue with its proceedings.
Khaleda has recently filed the leave-to-appeal petition with the SC challenging the HC order.
The ACC filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case against Khaleda and three others with Tejgaon police in August 2011. According to the case statement, the former prime minister and the three others abused power and raised funds for the trust from unknown sources.
The three others are Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to the then PM Khaleda, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary (APS) to Harris, and Monirul Islam Khan, APS to former Dhaka City Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Khaleda, accused in more than 34 cases, is currently serving a five-year prison term in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Meantime, the SC fixed today for hearing two separate petitions filed by Khaleda challenging two HC orders in connection with the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.
In one petition, Khaleda challenged the HC order that on October 22 kept in the record her application in which she prayed to the HC to record statement from a witness in the case.
In the other petition, she challenged the HC order that on October 23 rejected her application for an adjournment of hearing the appeal, in which she had challenged her conviction in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.