The former prime minister is serving jail terms in two graft cases
A Dhaka court has deferred the indictment hearing in the Niko graft case as the accused BNP Chairperson, Khaleda Zia, was not produced before it, due to illness.
Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman of Dhaka Special Judge Court 9, on Monday, set April 10 for the next hearing — following a petition filed by Khaleda’s lawyer Masud Taulkder seeking time.
Later Khaleda's lawyer Masud Talukder told to the Dhaka Tribune: “She [Khaleda] was not produced before the court today due to her physical illness. The jail authority also forwarded Khaleda Zia's custody warrant before the court.”
Meanwhile, the BNP chief has been taken to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Hospital in Dhaka after falling ill in jail.
A Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) vehicle reached the hospital around 12:38pm on Monday.
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The former prime minister is serving jail terms in two graft cases. She has been at the central jail in Old Dhaka since February 8, 2018.
Apart from BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, former Law Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed, former secretaries Md Shafiur Rahman, Khondker Shahidul Islam, CM Yusuf Hossain and former President of Dhaka Club Selim Bhuiyan are among the prime accused of the case.
The other three accused—Former secretary Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, former General Manager of Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration & Production Company Limited (BAPEX) Meer Moinul Haque, and Niko South Asia Affairs Vice President Kashem Sharif—are absconding.
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In December 2007, the ACC filed the case accusing the 11 people of misusing power to grant a gas deal to Canadian company Niko, when Khaleda was the prime minister of Bangladesh between 2001 and 2006.
On May 5, 2008, the anti-graft watchdog submitted charge sheet against Khaleda and 10 others in the graft case.
Two months later, the High Court stayed the proceedings of the case following a petition filed by BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Then on June 18, 2016, the High Court cleared the way for the trial proceedings to resume against Khaleda and others in the case following another petition by ACC.