The accused in the case including Begum Khaleda Zia failed to appear in court due to illness
A Dhaka court on Thursday deferred the hearing of Niko graft case filed in 2007 by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) till January 5.
Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman of Dhaka Special Judge Court-9 - which is set up inside the Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj - fixed the date for hearing on charge framing against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and 10 others after Begum Khaleda Zia, Barrister Moudud Ahamed counsel Masud Ahmed Talukder sought for time as they could not appear before the court due to their illnesses.
The other accused in the case are AKM Mosharraf Hossain, former state minister for energy, Kamal Uddin Siddique, former principal secretary to prime minister, Khandaker Shahidul Islam, former acting energy secretary, CM Yousuf Hossain, former senior assistant secretary of Energy and Mineral Resources Department, Meer Moynul Haque, former senior general manager of Bapex, Shafiur Rahman, former secretary of Bapex, Giasuddin Al Mamun, managing director of One Group, Selim Bhuiyan, chairman and managing director of International Travel Corporation, and Kashem Sharif, vice-president (South Asia) of Niko Resources Bangladesh Ltd.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case against five people, including Khaleda Zia, with Tejgaon police station on December 9, 2007, for abusing power in signing a deal with Canadian company Niko for gas exploration and extraction, when she was prime minister between 2001 and 2006.
The ACC on May 5, 2008, submitted the charge-sheet against 11 people including Khaleda Zia. The ACC accused them of causing the state exchequer to incur losses higher than Tk13,000 crore through the Niko deal.
Two months later, the High Court stayed the proceedings of the case following a petition filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Following an ACC move, on June 18, 2016, the High Court cleared the way for the trial proceedings to resume against Khaleda and others in the case.