Khaleda won't be spared if found guilty of stealing poor's money, Hasina says
Sumon Mahbub from Munich, bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-02-18 00:22:34.0 BdST Updated: 2017-02-18 00:51:53.0 BdST
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has responded to the BNP's warning against any election without Khaleda Zia, saying the BNP chairperson will be punished if found guilty of corruption.
At a reception organised by the Awami League's Germany unit in Munich on Friday, she said, "If the court finds evidence that she stole money, she will be punished."
"But they are threatening to stop the election for this...to save a thief who stole orphans' money. How strange!" she said.
"She should have returned the poor's money," Hasina added.
The BNP leaders are speaking about matter as the trial of Khaleda in two cases on charges of embezzling around Tk 52.5 million when she was the prime minister from 2001 to 2006 is at the final stage
A special judge's court in Dhaka is hearing the Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage Trust cases.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Thursday said in a programme the government has no plan to arrest or jail Khaleda. He said the matter depends on the court.
"If someone is found guilty in court, it is the court that will pardon or jail her. But Bangladesh's Constitution and election will never wait for someone," he said.
The next parliamentary election is scheduled to be held by early 2019.
In reaction to Quader's comments, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said on Friday there 'cannot be any election' without Khaleda.
"The people will stop any attempt to conduct partial and controversial election in the name of upholding the Constitution," he said.
On Friday, speaking at the reception in Munich Marriott Hotel on Friday afternoon (local time), Hasina said, "It is the court to decide whether to punish someone. If she did not steal, she won't be penalised."
She alleged that Khaleda stole 'billions of takas' and deposited the money with her son Tarique Rahman and BNP leader Mosaddek Ali Falu.
She claimed there are documental evidence that the BNP chief had 'stolen orphans' money'.
"And now she is fleeing from the court. Should there be any reason to flee if it was a false case? It's clear that she had embezzled orphanage money," the prime minister said.
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