Zia Trust graft charges taken into cognisance

Arrest warrant issued against Harris Chowdhury

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia appears before a court in the capital on Tuesday.

A Dhaka court on Tuesday took into cognisance the charges brought against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and three others in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.

Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court of Judge Md Zahirul Haque also issued an arrest warrant against Harris Chowdhury, Khaleda’s former political secretary, one of the accused in the case.

The judge delivered the decision after taking depositions from both the prosecution and defence for one hour and 25 minutes in presence of Khaleda.

Khaleda appeared before the court around 2:15pm and left the court premises around 3:30pm with the permission of the judge.

When she was leaving the court premises, the supporters of BNP and its associate bodies were chanting slogan, demanding withdrawal of the ‘false’ case against her.

Transport movement came to a halt from Gulistan to Sadarghat as the supporters thronged the court premises to welcome Khaleda, blocking the city streets.

Khaleda also the leader of the opposition in parliament on January 6 (Sunday) ducked appearing before a court in the case for the 10th time citing security concerns during hartal enforced by the BNP-led 18-party alliance.

Khaleda’s counsel Mahbub Uddin Khokon submitted a petition and sought adjournment of the hearing, saying his client could not appear before it due to security concerns during the hartal.

The court later asked Khaleda for the 11th time to appear before it on today (January 15) in connection with the case.

The court also extended to January 15 the bail to two other accused in the case — Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary of BNP leader Harris Chowdhury; and Monirul Islam Khan, APS of former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.

On January 1, the court asked Khaleda to appear before it on January 6.

Khaleda skipped the hearings on March 18, April 29, May 31, July 1, August 5, August 28, October 1 and November 27 last year and January 1 this year.

She last appeared in the court on February 2, 2012 only to secure permanent bail in the case.

Source: The Daily Star

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