A special court is scheduled to deliver the verdict in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, filed against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and five others, on Thursday.
However, it is still unclear where the former prime minister will be kept if she is convicted.
According to sources concerned, Khaleda Zia will be kept in Kashimpur Women's Central Jail, or a building will be declared a sub-jail for her accommodation.
In 2007, the then army-backed caretaker government turned the speaker’s residence in the parliament area into a sub-jail, and imprisoned Khaleda Zia there.
The same year, incumbent Prime Minister, and also the President of Awami League Sheikh Hasina was imprisoned at the deputy-speaker’s resident, which was also declared a sub-jail.
Also Read- All eyes on Khaleda Zia’s verdict
Sources concerned told the correspondent that the BNP chief could be sent to the day-care centre of the old central jail in Dhaka's Nazimuddin Road. The centre is being renovated for the past couple of days.
A few officials, preferring not to be named, believe that the Gulshan office of the BNP chief could also be turned into a special prison for this reason.
When approached, Additional Inspector General (Prisons) Colonel Iqbal Hasan declined to make any comments on this matter at this time.
Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Touhidul Islam said: “We do not have any information regarding the matter.”
Jailer of Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj, Mahbubul Islam and Senior Jail Super of Kashimpur Women's Central Jail, Shahjahan Ahmed both denied having any knowledge on the place of Khaleda’s possible imprisonment.
Also Read- How will BNP react if Khaleda is convicted?
Commenting on the matter, Khaleda’s lawyer Aminul Islam said: “Why would Khaleda Zia be sent to a prison? She will not be jailed, and even if she is, the BNP chief will be sent to a normal prison.
“The graft case does not have adequate substance to send Khaleda Zia to jail."
He said: “Not even a single witness claimed that the BNP chief signed a document or illegally paid someone money."
"The state could not present enough evidence or witnesses before the court that can lead to Khaleda’s conviction,” he added.
The lawyer claimed that there is no chance of Khaleda Zia getting punished in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
He also stated that if the BNP chairperson gets punishment in the graft case, then it would appear that the government has interfered with the process.
“The people will not accept such verdict, and it will not bring good news for the government,” he concluded.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case at Ramna police station on July 3, 2008, against Khaleda, Tarique and four others for embezzling over Tk2.1 crore by forming an eyewash establishment named Zia Orphanage Trust.
After concluding the investigation, ACC submitted a charge sheet in court accusing the six people on August 5, 2009.
The trial, however, started five years later at Dhaka’s Third Special Judge’s Court on March 19, 2014.
Two other accused in the case – former BNP lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed – are currently behind bars.
BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique, who is in the UK now, and Mominur Rahman, nephew of late president Ziaur Rahman and former principal secretary to the prime minister Kamal Uddin Siddique, are shown as fugitives in the case documents.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com