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21 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 February, 2018 11:10:37 PM
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Appeal mentioned 54 points to scrap trial court verdict

HC to hear Khaleda appeal tomorrow

100 injured in police action at places during countrywide BNP demonstrations
Staff Reporter with our correspondents
HC to hear Khaleda appeal tomorrow

The High Court (HC) will hear tomorrow an appeal by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia against the trial court verdict that sentenced her to five years in prison in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. The HC bench of Justices M Enayetur Rahim and Sahidul Karim yesterday fixed the date after Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Advocate Zainul Abedin, one of the defence counsels, appealed to the court to do so.

Khaleda’s defence team filed the appeal with the related section at 3.40pm after a series of meetings from morning till noon on the SC premises. In the 1,222-page appeal, the BNP chief sought bail and prayed to the HC to acquit her of the corruption charge after setting aside the lower court verdict, which also slapped a fine of Tk. 2.10 crore on her. The appeal mentioned a total of 54 legal points to scrap the trial court verdict.

It also said that pending the appeal’s disposal, the conviction and realisation of fine may be stayed and the sentence be suspended.

It alleged that Khaleda was victimised due to political rivalry and the trial court had sentenced her “illegally and improperly” without any evidence, resulting in miscarriage of justice.

According to the appeal, the trial court had erred in convicting and sentencing the appellant under Sections 409 and 109 of the Penal Code in absence of any evidence of entrustment of any impugned fund received as foreign donation or handling of the fund by her.

It also cited the absence of evidence of criminal breach of trust and offence under Sections 409 and 109 of the penal code, although she was not charged under these two sections. Besides, there was no evidence of either the offence under Section 409 of the penal code or any evidence of abetment. This resulted in prejudice against the defence and miscarriage of justice. The court erred in framing of charges in contravention of Sections 221, 222, 223, 235, and 239 of the Criminal Procedure of Code (CrPC) in initiating the trial, and this resulted in vitiating the trial and miscarriage of justice, according to the appeal.

The trial court had sentenced Khaleda, although the Anti-Corruption Commission brought false and fabricated charges against her in the case and the original documents were not produced before the trial court, which was miscarriage of justice, the appeal said.

The lower court had sentenced the three-time former prime minister without properly examining the statements of 32 witnesses, the appeal alleged.

“For that under the fact and circumstances of the case, the impugned judgment and order conviction and sentence against the appellant being untenable and unsustainable in law is required to be set aside,” it said.

Moudud Ahemd, AJ Mohamma Ali, Abdur Rezzaque Khan, Jamir Uddin Sircar, Zainal Abedin, Mahbubuddin Khokon, Sanaullah Miah and Mojibur Rahman appeared on Khaleda’s behalf, while attorney general Mahbubey Alam represented the state. Khurshid Alam Khan stood for the Anti-Corruption Commission during yesterday’s proceedings.

On Monday, the BNP chief had received the certified copy of the verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. The 1174-page full verdict said the former PM had transferred public funds amounting to Tk. 2,33,33,500 to the Zia Orphanage Trust and she could not avoid the responsibility.

As per the law, government funds for orphans must be spent for the welfare of orphans. But that did not happen, said the verdict.

The verdict observed that Khaleda, her son Tarique Rahman and four other accused in the case all benefited directly or indirectly by forming the Zia Orphanage Trust. As such, they had committed financial fraud at the state level. The verdict also asked the six accused to repay Tk. 2,10,71,643 in equal proportions within 60 days and deposit the money with the government exchequer.

The lower court had sentenced Khaleda to jail on February 8. Later, law enforcers took the BNP chief to the Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road in the city. Since then, she has been kept there.

According to the pro-BNP lawyers, the BNP chief faced 37 cases and police have submitted charges in 17 of these. Of the cases, four were filed during the tenure of the Army-backed 1/11 government that ruled between 2006 and 2008. The cases pertained to corruption in cases related to Barapukuria Coal Mine, GATCO, NIKO and the Zia Orphanage Trust.

Among the 37, lower courts have also issued arrest warrants against Khaleda in five cases as she did not appear before the courts in accordance with their orders.

Meanwhile, at least 100 people were injured across country as the police opened fire, lobbed teargas shells and charged batons when BNP leaders and activists tried to hold rallies in different districts, including Faridpur and Habiganj, yesterday.

As part of the agitation announced earlier, the BNP organised the rallies at city, district and upazila levels across the country, except Dhaka, demanding the release of Khaleda Zia.

Our correspondents report that the party held rallies and brought out processions in most of the cities and districts peacefully.

In Habiganj, the police fired at BNP activists while they tried to bring out a procession at Shayeshtaganj around 11:00am. About 50 people were injured. Among them 20 were hit by bullets, said district BNP secretary and local municipality mayor GK Gaus.

Those who sustained bullet wounds included district Jubo Dal general secretary Miah Md Ilias, upazila unit Jubo Dal president Oliur Rahman and BNP workers Matin Miah, Badshah Siddiqui, Nasir Uddin, Abul Bashar, Selim Ahmed and Tajul Islam.

The injured were treated at various clinics. They avoided hospitals for fear of detention or harrassment by the police.

The police detained two BNP workers, Faruk Ahmed and Kajal Miah.

Gaus said they were holding a rally as part of the nationwide protest against jailing of their party chairperson, Khaleda Zia.

The police allegedly engaged in an altercation with the mayor.

BNP leaders alleged that he was roughed up on the spot. When the party activists protested, the police fired at them, they said.

Gaus claimed that the police assaulted him and opened fire at the BNP activists without any provocation.

The additional superintendent of Police, Ayatunnabi, however, said the police fired in self-defence as the BNP activists had attacked the law enforcers.

The police lobbed teargas shells and charged batons on BNP leaders and activists in Faridpur and foiled their attempt to stage a demonstration. The police also resorted to firing. At least 15 people, including journalists, were injured, said local BNP activists.

The police also detained 20 leaders and activists, inclduing district BNP secretary Syed Modarres Ali, Julfiker Hossain and Sadar upazila BNP president Raufunnabi from the spot.

Eyewitnesses said the incidents took place on the Faridpur Super Market premises, Town Theatre Hall, Dr Zahid Memorial Shishu Hospital and Faridpur Press Club area from 10:45am to 11:30am. During the clash, BNP leaders and activists also threw brickbats at the law enforcers.

Later, BNP organising secretary Shama Obaid, who was taking part in the protest rally, went to the press club and condemned the police attack. She said the BNP would continue with its peaceful programme until the government relented. The officer-In-charge of Kotwali police station, Nazimuddin, told reporters that they obstructed the BNP from holding an illegal rally. He also claimed that four police personnel were injured in clashes with BNP workers.

Briefing reporters at the party’s central office, BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that at least 11 party activists were detained from Faridpur while they tried to bring out a procession. He also claimed that at least 70 party leaders and activists have been detained from different parts of the country.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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