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Barapukuria graft: Khaleda Zia 'unwilling' to appear in court

  • Published at 01:46 pm March 13th, 2019
File photo BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia

The jail authority relayed incarcerated Khaleda Zia's quote on Wednesday

BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia has not appeared before the court in the trial of Barapukuria coal mine graft case, citing her “unwillingness” to do so.

The jail authority disclosed this, quoting the incarcerated Khaleda Zia, on Wednesday.

The court had earlier set March 13 for a hearing on charge-framing against those accused in the graft case, including the former prime minister. However, Khaleda Zia’s lawyer Masud Ahmed filed a petition with the court seeking to postpone the hearing.

Special Judges Court 2 Judge ASM Ruhul Imran then set April 9 for the next hearing of this case.

Advocate Masud Ahmed pointed out: “We have yet get our hands on documents previously- seized by the case Investigation Officer (IO). The accused, Khaleda Zia, is not present before the court, and another accused Aminul Haq is presently abroad for treatment.

“Under these circumstances, I petitioned the court to postpone the hearing for a later date.”

Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, representing the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC), was present at the court.

Earlier, on January 31, Special Judges Court 2 Judge ASM Ruhul Imran postponed the hearing to February 26. 

The ACC filed the case with Shahbagh police station on February 26, 2008, accusing 16 people—including Khaleda and 10 of her former cabinet colleagues—of taking Tk159 crore 71lakh in kickbacks on the Barapukuria coal mine deal which was awarded to the highest bidder instead of the lowest one.

Among the 16 accused, Motiur Rahman Nizami and Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed were executed for their crimes against humanity; and former Finance Minister Saifur Rahman, BNP leader Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, and former Petrobangla chairman, AR Osmani have died.

On October 5, 2008, the ACC pressed charges against the accused in the Barapukuria graft case.

Following a petition filed by Khaleda, the High Court on October 16, 2008, stayed the case proceedings and issued a ruling asking the ACC to explain why the case should not be scrapped.

On September 17, 2015, the High Court withdrew the stay order resuming the trial proceedings of the case.