The court also, following a petition filed by the defence lawyer, exempted the BNP chief from personal appearance in the graft case
A Dhaka court on Tuesday set March 18 to hold a hearing on charge framing in the Niko graft case against former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and others.
Dhaka 9th Special Judge's Court Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman passed the order at the newly-built courtroom in front of Keraniganj Central Jail.
The court also, following a petition filed by defence lawyer Masud Ahmed Talukder, exempted the BNP chief from personal appearance in the Niko graft case.
Earlier on February 16, the same court had fixed Tuesday for holding a hearing on charge framing in the case during which Khaleda refrained from appearing before the court on health grounds.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case against five including Begum Khaleda Zia with Tejgaon police station on December 9 in 2007, for abusing power in signing a deal with Canadian company Niko for exploring and extracting gas.
The ACC on May 5 in 2008, submitted the charge-sheet against 11 including Khaleda Zia.
The other accused in the case are BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed, former state minister for energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain, then principal secretary to the prime minister Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, former acting secretary at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Khandaker Shahidul Islam, former senior assistant secretary CM Yusuf Hossain, former Bapex general manager Mir Moinul Haque, former Bapex secretary Mohammad Shafiur Rahman, businessman Gias Uddin Al Mamun, former Bagerhat MP MAH Selim and Niko’s former vice president for South Asia Kashem Sharif.
The ACC accused them of incurring a loss of more than Tk13,000 crore of state exchequer by that deal.