The Supreme Court (SC) has lifted bar on trial proceedings against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in Gatco graft case by rejecting her two leave-to-appeal petitions against the High Court order that allowed trial.
A bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice SK Sinha on Monday dismissed the two leave-to-appeal petitions filed by Khaleda.
The SC rejected the leave-to-appeal petitions on the ground that she filed a writ petition with the HC challenging legality of Gatco case instead of a petition seeking quashing of the case as per provision of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
On September 2, 2007, the ACC lodged the Gatco case with Tejgaon Police Station against Khaleda, her youngest son late Arafat Rahman Koko, executed war criminal and Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami and 10 others.
According to the case statement, there was corruption in the awarding of a contract to Global Agro Trade (Pvt) Company Ltd (Gatco) for container management at inland depots in Dhaka and Chittagong. The graft allegedly cost the state exchequer over Tk 1,000 crore.
Khaleda was arrested in the case on September 2, 2007, and freed the following year after she secured bail in Gatco case.
Judge Abu Ahmed Jomadar of the Dhaka Special Judge Court-3 was assigned to hold the trial of the case.
The defence lawyers were scheduled to hold cross-examination of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) deputy director Harunur Rashid who filed two cases.
On September 27 in 2007, BNP chairperson filed a writ petition with the HC challenging the legality of the inclusion of the case under the Emergency Powers Act.
In 2008, the HC issued a rule and stayed the trial proceedings.
However, the High Court on August 5, 2015 rejected the petition filed by Khaleda. On May 10 last year, Khaleda Zia filed two leave-to-appeal petitions against the HC order.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said the lower court will be able to resume trial of Gatco case but Khaleda Zia will remain on bail.