A Dhaka court on Thursday ordered that trial proceedings in Zia Charitable Trust graft case will continue at Old Dhaka Central Jail in absence of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
Judge Md Akhteruzzaman of Dhaka Special Judge Court-5 passed the order following a petition submitted by the prosecution lawyers in the corruption case.“The court accepted the petition under section 540 of CrPC for the sake of justice as the case has been pending for one year and nine months at argument stage while accused Khaleda Zia did not appear before the court willingly.”
“Trial proceedings will be conducted regularly and defence lawyers can place arguments on behalf of Khaleda Zia, if they want to,” the court said
Advocate Aminul Islam, a lawyer for another accused in the case Ziaul Islam Munna on Thursday placed partial arguments on behalf of his client.
The court also fixed September 24, 25 and 26 for placing arguments in the case.
Earlier, Public prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol filed a petition on September 13 for delivering verdict in the case after completing trial in absence of Khaleda as she did not appear before the court for the last several months due to her illness.
After the jail authorities informed the court of Khaleda’s unwillingness to appear before it, the court on September 12 adjourned hearing in the case, saying it will conduct hearing the following day to decide whether it should continue its proceedings in the absence of her.On September 4, law ministry issued a gazette notification on holding of the trial in the case at Old Dhaka Central Jail after setting up a makeshift court there.
The following day, Khaleda was produced before Special Judge Court-5 where the BNP chief stated that she is sick and she will neither be able to appear before the court repeatedly nor can stay there for a long time.
The case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) with Tejgaon Police Station in August, 2011 accusing Khaleda Zia and three others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.
The other three accused in the case are Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary to Harris and Monirul Islam Khan, APS to former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Khaleda Zia is now at the central jail on Nazimuddin Road, serving five years imprisonment after she was convicted in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on February 8 this year.