The High Court has cleared way for trial of BNP chief Khaleda Zia in absentia in a case filed over embezzlement of fund of Zia Charitable Trust.
A division bench comprising Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice SM Kuddus Zaman passed the order on Sunday rejecting a petition filed by Khaleda Zia challenging legality of the decision of the lower court to continue her trial in absentia.Following the HC order, there is no bar to continue trial of Zia Charitable Trust case in absence of the BNP chairperson, said Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) counsel Khurshid Alam Khan.
Khaleda Zia, has been in jail since her conviction in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8. She refused to appear before the court during trial of Zia Charitable Trust case on ‘safety ground’.
Later, the government shifted the court to the jail premises to ensure his safety. Yet, she did not appear before the court. Rather, defence counsels asked the court to stop the trial in her absence, but the prosecution prayed for continuation of the trial.
Against this backdrop, on September 20, a special court in Dhaka decided to continue the trial of the case in absence of Khaleda Zia.
On September 27, Khaleda Zia filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging legality of the lower court’s decision to continue trial in her absence.
Barrister Kaiser Kamal, a counsel for Khaleda Zia, filed the petition on behalf of the former premier, who is the main accused in the case.The ACC, in August, 2011, filed the Zia Charitable Trust case with Tejgaon police station accusing Khaleda Zia and three others of raising and embezzling fund in the name of the trust.
Three other co-accused are the then prime minister Khaleda Zia’s political secretary Harris Chowdhury, Harris Chowdhury’s assistant private secretary Ziaul Islam Munna, and former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka’s APS Monirul Islam Khan.