A Dhaka court yesterday fixed September 20 to deliver an order on whether the trial proceedings in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case would continue in the absence of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Special Judge Court-5 fixed the date after a hearing.
Khaleda was represented by Sanaullah Mia and Masud Ahmed Talukdar at the special court at Old Dhaka Central Jail and another accused Ziaul Islam Manna by Aminul Islam. Mosharraf Hossain Kajol appeared for the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Mosharraf yesterday filed a petition, seeking completion of the trial in the absence of Khaleda as she did not appear before the court in the last several months due to her illness.
Khaleda's lawyers also submitted an application to allow her two lawyers to meet her in jail to get information about her health condition. In response, the court instructed the jail authorities to take steps as per the jail code.
On Wednesday, the court adjourned hearing of the case, saying that it would hear the following day whether it should continue its proceedings in the absence of BNP chief.
Judge of the court said this after the jail authorities informed the court about Khaleda's unwillingness to appear before it.
Khaleda's lawyers filed a petition on Wednesday, stating the makeshift court inside the prison could not continue its proceedings without permission from the Supreme Court.
Previously, the trial used to be at a makeshift court in Bakshibazar area, but the law ministry on September 4 issued a gazette notification, mentioning that the trial in the graft case would be held at Old Dhaka Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road. The decision, it said, was made taking Khaleda's security into consideration.
On February 8, the same special court awarded Khaleda five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case and sentenced her elder son Tarique Rahman, now acting BNP chairman, and four others to 10 years' imprisonment each.
The ACC filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon Police Station in August 2011, accusing Khaleda and three others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.