Sunday, March 18, 2018

Full bench to hear appeals today

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 119 hours ago

The chamber court of the Appellate Division yesterday passed no order on two appeals against the High Court (HC) order granting four months’ bail to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. The appeals have been filed one each by the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The chamber judge of the Appellate Division, Justice Hassan Foyez Siddique, forwarded the two petitions to the full bench and fixed today for the hearing. The four-member Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain have kept the ACC and the government appeals as item numbers 1 and 2 respectively in today’s cause list.

Talking to reporters, Advocate Joynul Abedin and Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokan, counsels for the BNP chief, said the bail Khaleda got from HC stands valid. However, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters that the BNP chief cannot walk out of jail before securing bail in an arson case in which the police have shown her as ‘arrested’.

On Monday, upon an application filed by the police, a Comilla court directed them to show Khaleda as ‘arrested’ in the arson case and asked them to produce the BNP chief before it on March 28. The case is related to an attack on a bus in Chouddagram upazila on February 3, 2015, during the BNP-led alliance’s nationwide anti-government movement, in which eight people were killed and 20 injured. The Comilla court issued an arrest warrant against Khaleda on January 2 in the arson case.

On Monday, the HC granted four months’ interim bail to Khaleda, who was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by a lower court. The HC bench, comprising Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim, granted her bail on four grounds—quantum of sentence, age, health condition, and not misusing bail during the trial proceedings in the lower court.

The HC bench also directed the authorities to prepare the paper book of the case within four months so that it can be heard if it is mentioned by any party. On February 8, the special judge’s court-5 of Dhaka also awarded jail sentences to Tarique Rahman, now the acting chairman of the BNP, and four others for 10 years and fined them Tk. 2.10 crore in all. The six convicts, including Khaleda, have to pay the fine in equal amounts. The ACC filed the graft case in Ramna police station in July 2008, accusing the six of misappropriating over Tk. 2.1 crore, which had come from a foreign bank as grants for orphans.

The BNP chief faced 37 cases, and the police have submitted charges in 17 of these. Of these 37 cases, lower courts have issued arrest warrants against Khaleda in five.

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