Niko case: Hearing on charge framing against Khaleda Feb 4
A Dhaka court today fixed February 4 for hearing on charge framing against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and 10 others in connection with the Niko graft case.
Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman of the Special Judge Court-9 of Dhaka passed the order at the makeshift court set up inside Old Dhaka Central Jail after hearing the argument from both defence and prosecution lawyers.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was taken to the court in a wheelchair around 12:25pm. During the hearing, the BNP chief did not say anything at the court.
During the hearing, BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed, an accused in the case, told the court, “It’s not true that I served as a legal adviser of the Niko.”
“The Nika agreement was made during the then Awami League led government. It was said I served as a legal adviser and gave my opinions in favour of the contract,” he said.
Moudud said, “All allegations of this case have been made based on the assumptions.”
“All allegations against my client are baseless and intriguing,” said advocate Asaduzzaman, lawyer of the accused Khandaker Shahidul Islam.
However, Public Prosecutor of the Anti-Corruption Commission Mosharraf Hossain Kajol told the reporters at the end of the hearing, “This case is not fantasy. The ACC has submitted the charge sheet based on evidence.”
“We hope the hearing on charge framing will be concluded on the next date. And the court will frame the charges against the accused,” Kajol said.
Meanwhile, Advocate AUZ Prince, lawyer of the accused AKM Mosharrof Hossain, filed a time petition saying Mosharrof was very sick. The court granted the petition and said Mosharrof must appear before it on the next hearing.
Two defence lawyers talked silently with Khaleda Zia at the court during today’s hearing. Wishing not to be named, one defence lawyer told the reporters, “Khaleda Zia talks about her health. Despite physical sickness, she [Khaleda] is mentally very strong. I think her mental strength is God gifted.”
On December 9, 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing Khaleda and 10 others of “abusing their power to award” a gas exploration and extraction deal to Canadian company Niko.