Arrest warrants out for Khaleda Zia in graft cases

Arrest warrants are out for BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and two others in corruption cases involving embezzlement of over Tk 50 million.

Published : 25 Feb 2015, 05:23 AM
Updated : 26 March 2015, 07:07 AM

Dhaka's Third Metropolitan Special Judges Court, which is hearing the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases, scrapped the bail for the former prime minister as she failed to appear in a hearing on Wednesday.

The others whose bails have been cancelled are former Magura MP Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed.

The trials of the cases filed by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) are being held at the Special Judge’s Court set up at Bakshibazar's Alia Madrasa ground in Dhaka.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the court started recording testimonies of the plaintiff ACC official Harun Or Rashid, said ACC’s counsel Mosharraf Hossain Kajal.

The court had set Wednesday for the hearing of the case on Jan 29, when Khaleda pleaded for more time, as she was mourning the death of her youngest son.

Her counsels had then also told the court that she was being ‘prevented’ from leaving her Gulshan office by police.

The court had exempted the BNP chief from attending the hearing and ordered the recording of plaintiff testimonies in her absence.

Khaleda’s lawyers expressed lack of confidence in the judge after he continued with the witness deposition.

Khaleda has been living at her Gulshan office since Jan 3 after police stopped her from leaving the premises.

On Jan 5, security authorities posted outside the office locked the main gate from the outside, when the BNP chief was scheduled to attend a party event in Dhaka.

She announced an indefinite countrywide agitation and has been living there since then despite the withdrawal of the heavy police deployment.

On Wednesday, Khaleda petitioned the court for more time, citing a leave-to-appeal petition in the High Court.

Court rejected Khaleda’s plea. Her bail was cancelled and arrest warrants were issued as she did not appear in scheduled hearings.

In 2008, ACC filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against six including Khaleda and her son Tarique Rahman.

It alleged that the defendants misappropriated Tk 21 million from funds meant for the trust, which reportedly came from a foreign bank.

In 2011, the anti-corruption watchdog sued the BNP chief and three others for embezzlement of Tk 31.5 million of the Zia Charity Trust.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher