POST TIME: 1 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Judge leaves court amid chaos
Zia Charitable Trust graft case

Judge leaves court amid chaos

The judge of the special court that is currently conducting the trial proceedings of the graft cases filed against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia left the courtroom yesterday after the defence and prosecution lawyers got into a heated argument.

The argument started when defence lawyer Aminul Islam reportedly questioned the legality of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s seeking of votes in Sylhet on Tuesday.

Aminul, the counsel for Ziaul Islam Munna, submitted his argument in reply to the allegations made by Mosharraf Hossain Kajal, the lawyer for plaintiff Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Kajal, in his arguments placed on Tuesday, said the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia had hidden her identity as the head of the government in the bank account of the Zia Charitable Trust and had used her then Moinul Road residential address.

Aminul started placing his arguments before the court from around 11 am.

At one stage, he mentioned Hasina’s speech of Tuesday. Mentioning that Hasina, in her speech in Sylhet, had sought votes for Awami League (AL), the lawyer questioned whether she gave the speech as a Prime Minister or as an AL leader.

Defending Khaleda and the other accused in the case, Aminul said: “Why would Khaleda Zia write her prime ministerial position in the trust’s account? Every person has his/her official and personal jobs.”

Replying to the ACC lawyer’s argument, Aminul said the Zia Charitable Trust had bought a 42-cottah plot in Dhaka’s Kalrail. “Was it bought for Khaleda? No, it was bought for the trust. There is a piece of land, and a building for the trust. What more could be done for the trust?” the defence lawyer argued in court.

Aminul also said, “Was Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s public meeting speech in Sylhet yesterday (Tuesday) the job of a prime minister? But, she did that.”

At this stage, ACC lawyer Kajal said, “He (Aminul) was talking like Socrates. He is trying to be Einstein. Are these arguments (in court)? Why is he raising matters relating to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in court?”

Then, the lawyers of the two sides started bickering in the courtroom. They exchanged heated words, even though judge Md Akhteruzzaman asked the defence to place relevant arguments in court. Finally, around 11.55 am, the judge left the courtroom.

Ten to 15 minutes later, the judge returned to the courtroom and resumed the proceedings. Around 3.20 pm, the judge adjourned the proceedings until today. The court in Dhaka’s Bakshibazar had earlier fixed January 30 and 31 and February 1 for hearing the arguments in the graft case. Khaleda arrived in the court at 11.30 am.

On August 8, 2011, the ACC had filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case in Tejgaon police station, accusing four people, including Khaleda, of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.

On January 25, the special court 5 in Dhaka fixed February 8 as the date for the delivery of the verdict in another graft case—the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case—against Khaleda and five others.