Khaleda kept in wait

HC to give decision on bail after receiving case records from lower court in 15 days

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, who landed in jail on February 8 upon conviction in a graft case, has to wait for a few more days to know the fate of her bail petition.

The High Court yesterday did not pass any order after concluding hearing on her petition. The HC said it will deliver an order on her bail prayer after getting the case records from the lower court that sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage corruption case.

The former prime minister on February 22 filed an appeal with the HC and also sought bail, challenging the special court’s verdict.

The same day, the HC accepted the appeal and stayed the special court’s verdict that fined her in addition to the jail term. It also ordered the court to send the case documents to it within 15 working days.

Officials at the special court yesterday said they received the HC order and already started working on it.

“We will try to send the case records as soon as possible,” one of the officials told this newspaper on condition of anonymity.

Khaleda had to wait for 11 days to get a certified copy of the verdict to file the appeal.

Her lawyers, who were expecting the HC to grant her bail, expressed disappointment at the HC’s decision to wait for the case documents.

Terming the HC decision “unusual”, Moudud Ahmed said he has never been in such a situation in his 50-year career in legal profession.

“The bail process has been delayed. We will wait… We hope Khaleda Zia will get bail in the case,” Moudud, also former law minister, told The Daily Star yesterday.

Mahbub Uddin Khokon, another counsel for Khaleda, said, “We are very upset.”

“Usually, the High Court grants a convict bail after accepting his or her appeal against the trial court verdict. But it did not grant Khaleda Zia bail.”

Khokon, also BNP joint secretary general, pointed out that the HC had earlier granted bail to Awami League lawmaker Abdur Rahman Bodi in a corruption case in which he was convicted and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.

In that case, the HC didn’t ask for case records from the trial court for deciding on Bodi’s bail prayer. The HC granted him bail and accepted his appeal against the trial court verdict the same day he moved the pleas before it, said the lawyer.

It is unprecedented that the HC has given the trial court 15 days for providing it with the records in Khaleda’s case, he mentioned.

Khokon, however, said they will wait for the case records to reach the HC.

The BNP chief will not move any petition before the Supreme Court against the HC decision to wait for the case records, he told this newspaper after holding a meeting with several BNP leaders and pro-BNP lawyers at the conference room of the Supreme Court Bar Association.


In a packed courtroom, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim heard arguments in favour of and against Khaleda’s bail prayer.

During the hearing, Khaleda’s lawyer AJ Mohammad Ali prayed to the HC for granting her bail in the graft case, saying the HC may grant her bail as she was given “a short sentence” of five years’ imprisonment and has been in jail since February 8.

Ali, also former attorney general, mentioned that the courts have a long tradition of granting bail to a convict or an accused if the person is a woman.

He argued that the BNP chief is now 73, and she has been suffering from various chronic degenerative medical conditions.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Anti-Corruption Commission’s lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan vehemently opposed the bail prayer on different grounds.

Mahbubey said the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case is the first case in Bangladesh, which was filed on the charges of misappropriating orphans’ money.

As the then chief executive of the country, Khaleda cannot avoid the responsibility for the embezzlement of the orphans’ money, he said.

The attorney general further said former president HM Ershad had been granted bail after he spent three and a half years in jail in the Janata Tower corruption case. He had been convicted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in that case.

Why should Khaleda be granted bail in less than a month after she was convicted and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment, he questioned.

The attorney general also said that if the HC grants Khaleda bail, her appeal against the trial court verdict may not be heard and disposed of quickly.

He prayed to the HC for expeditious hearing and disposal of Khaleda’s appeal.

Presenting a newspaper report, the country’s top law officer told the HC that BNP leader Rizvi Ahmed “threatened” the trial court judge for convicting and sentencing Khaleda in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

In response, Justice Enayetur Rahim said that any judgment is criticised by someone if it goes against that person. But the same person praises it if the verdict goes in his favour.

ACC lawyer Khurshid also opposed Khaleda’s bail prayer, saying there is no logic behind the argument that the HC should grant a convict bail if that person has been given short sentence in a case.

Citing from two SC verdicts, he hoped the HC would hear and dispose of the convict’s appeal expeditiously.

The counsel further said that if the appeal is not disposed of quickly, the HC may consider the convict’s bail prayer.

He argued that Khaleda has not submitted any attested documents to the HC in support of the grounds mentioned in her bail petition.

During yesterday’s proceedings, the two judges left the courtroom at 2:10pm after a pandemonium broke out with several lawyers shouting over sitting arrangement.

Before leaving, the judges asked the lawyers to calm down for the proceedings to continue.

They returned to the courtroom after around 10 minutes as the situation became normal following departure of some junior lawyers.


The Special Judge’s Court-5, which convicted Khaleda in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, extended Khaleda’s bail until today in another corruption case.

Judge MD Akhteruzzaman of the special court passed the order yesterday after Khaleda’s lawyer Moudud Ahmed submitted a petition seeking extension of her bail in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.

The court on February 1 gave Khaleda ad-interim bail till yesterday and asked her to appear before it. But she could not appear before it yesterday as she is now in jail.

Public Prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol moved a petition before the court for issuing a production warrant against Khaleda.

The court will give an order on Kajol’s plea today.

On February 8, the special court awarded Khaleda five years’ rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. It also sentenced her elder son Tarique Rahman, now acting BNP chairman, and four others to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment each.

The court also fined them a total of Tk 2.10 crore, saying all the six convicts have to pay the fine in equal amounts.

The ACC filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case with Ramna Police Station in July 2008, accusing the six of misappropriating over Tk 2.1 crore that came from a foreign bank as grants for orphans.

The anti-graft body filed the Zia Charitable corruption case with Tejgaon Police Station in August 2011, accusing Khaleda and three others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.

The three other accused are: Harris Chowdhury, political secretary of the then PM Khaleda between 2001 and 2006; Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary (APS) to Harris; and Monirul Islam Khan, APS of former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.

Source: The Daily Star


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