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Charge framed against Khaleda, Tarique in Zia Trust graft cases

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Court Correspondent
A Dhaka court yesterday framed charges against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and seven others rejecting their time petition in the Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage Trust graft cases.
Judge Basudev Roy of the Dhaka Special Judge Court-3 passed the order and fixed April 21 for starting the trial with the recording of evidence of the Prosecution Witnesses.
When the judge rejected the time petition, a chaotic situation was created in the courtroom due to heated arguments by the defence lawyers. At one stage, the judge left the courtroom.
Khaleda Zia, also former Prime Minister, appeared before the special judge court today (Wednesday) for hearing on charge framing against her and others. She entered the court room at 12:55 pm.
A Dhaka court on February 16 fixed March 19 for the hearing on charge framing against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and others in the two graft cases.
They submitted the time petition as the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has not yet given any decision against the High Court order that rejected the appeal of the accused that two cases cannot run together, said Taherul Islam Touhid, a defence counsel.
Khaleda Zia earlier appeared before the court on January 15 last year in the two cases.
On February 16, the court held back for today (Wednesday) the hearing on the charge framing against Khaleda Zia and others in the two cases.
The charge frame hearing in the two cases has so far been adjourned for 50 times in the last two years.
On August 8, 2011, the ACC filed the Zia Charitable Trust case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing four people, including Khaleda Zia, of abusing power in raising funds for the trust from unknown sources.
ACC deputy director Harunur Rashid, also investigation officer of the case, pressed charges against the accused on January 16, 2012.
Three other accused in the case are Khaleda’s former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, his former assistant personal secretary Ziaul Islam Munna, and Manirul Islam Khan, former personal secretary of mayor of undivided Dhaka City Corporation Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Of the accused, Harris Chowdhury left the country in 2007 and has been staying abroad since then. He was mentioned in the charge sheet as an absconding accused. Ziaul and Monirul are now on bail.
Besides, the ACC filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on July 3, 2008 with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda Zia, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, now living in the UK, after securing bail, and four others of misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore which came as grants from a foreign bank for the orphans.
On August 5, 2010, ACC deputy director Harunur Rashid submitted a chargesheet to the court in the case against six people, including BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
The other accused of the case are Mominur Rahman, nephew of Ziaur Rahman, Khaleda’s former principal secretary Dr Kamaluddin Siddique, and former BNP MP Kazi Salimul Haque and Sarfuddin Ahmed.
Relinquishing his party portfolio, Tarique Rahman, the then senior joint secretary general left for London on September 11, 2008 for treatment after obtaining bail from the higher court.
However, in December 2009, when he had been abroad for over a year, Tarique was made party’s senior vice-chairman with a clear mandate to lead the BNP in absence of his mother.

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