• Monday, Feb 24, 2020
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Niko case hearing: Khaleda blames jail authorities for her absence

  • Published at 09:57 pm March 3rd, 2019
File photo of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The jail authorities said on February 20, Khaleda Zia could not be produced before the court as she 'did not wake up'

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Sunday told a court that she was not produced before the court for trial in the Niko graft case on February 20.

During Sunday’s hearing on charge framing in the case, Khaleda Zia said: “I was not produced before the court though I was ready. It was said that I was unwilling to appear before the court. It was not right.”

The jail authorities said on February 20, Khaleda Zia could not be produced before the court as she “did not wake up.”

On Sunday around 12:35pm, BNP chief Khaleda was taken to Special Judge Court-9 of Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman in a wheelchair. She is serving jail after being convicted in two graft cases.

During the hearing, BNP standing committee member Moudud Ahmed, an accused in the case, said: “There is nothing in the case about me—no documents or witness.

Also Read-  Khaleda Zia summoned to court for Niko graft case on Jan 3

“I gave my opinions when I was in the ministry’s charge. Khaleda Zia also signed the contract following rules. So all the accused should be released from the case,” he said.

Masud Ahmed Talukder, a lawyer for Khaleda Zia, told the court that Khaleda Zia needed treatment as she was sick.

Anti Corruption Commission(ACC) lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol said Khaleda can get treatment according to the jail code.

Next hearing

After hearing the discharge petition, Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman fixed March 19 for the next hearing in the case Petition filed seeking treatment.

On February 12, one of Khaleda’s lawyers filed a petition with the court seeking  treatment for her. However, the court has not decided on the matter yet.

On October 4 last year, the High Court directed the government to immediately admit Khaleda Zia to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University for treatment.

What is the case about?

According to the case, on December 9, 2007, the ACC filed the case with Tejgaon police station over charges that Khaleda and several others abused power to award a gas exploration and extraction deal to Canadian company Niko, when she was Prime Minister between 2001 and 2006.  In May 5, 2008, the anti-graft watchdog submitted a 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.

Following an ACC move, on June 18, 2016, the High Court cleared the way for trial proceedings to resume against Khaleda and others in the case.