Friday, September 20, 2019

Khaleda Zia shifted back to jail in Niko graft case

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2018-11-08 11:24:10 BdST

Prison authorities have transferred former prime minister Khaleda Zia to the Old Dhaka jailhouse from hospital for a court appearance in the Niko graft case.

The hearing for the Niko graft case began after a long time, with Khaleda appearing in a special judge’s makeshift court inside the jailhouse.

A wheelchair-bound Khaleda appeared in court around 12pm on Thursday. Barrister Moudud Ahmed, one of the accused in the case, opened the hearing on the charges against himself.

The judge adjourned the court proceedings setting the next hearing for Nov 14. The hearing on charges against Khaleda is likely to take place on the day.

Khaleda left the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital at 11.30am, after a month of treatment, said Brigadier General Abdullah-Al-Harun, director of the BSMMU.

“Her physical condition is now stable enough. The hospital authorities have tried to provide her with adequate medical care.”

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, on the other hand, claimed Khaleda was ‘very sick’ when he saw her in the court.

The ACC filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station in 2007, accusing Khaleda and 10 others of abusing power to award a gas exploration and extraction deal to Canadian company Niko during her tenure as the prime minister.

Khaleda was jailed for five years on Feb 8 in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, which was later doubled to 10 years by the High Court.

She was earlier transferred to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital from the jailhouse for treatment on Oct 6.

A trial court sentenced her to seven years in jail on Oct 29 in a separate case that involves the Zia Charitable Trust, named after her late husband. The next day, the High Court doubled her jail term to 10 years in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

The government moved to finish the trial of the Niko graft case filed during the army-backed caretaker government.