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19 June, 2019 12:48:32 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 June, 2019 01:03:34 PM
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Khaleda needs bail in two more cases for release from jail

MUHAMMAD YEASIN, Dhaka
Khaleda needs bail in two more cases for release from jail

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia needs bail in two more cases, out of a total of 37, to be released from jail. “It’ll be possible for the BNP chief to walk out of jail, if the High Court grants her bail in the Zia Charitable Trust case and the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division grants her bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case,” barrister Ehsanur Rahman, one of the counsels for the BNP chief, told The Independent yesterday (Tuesday).

“We hope the Appellate Division and the High Court Division will grant her bail very soon and she will walk out of jail without further harassment,” Rahman said.

Soon after the High Court yesterday granted six-month bail to Khaleda Zia in two defamation cases, barrister Moudud Ahmed, another counsel for the BNP chief, told reporters that Khaleda Zia would be released from jail after securing bail in the two cases.

“We’ve filed bail applications in both the cases. The High Court is likely to hold the hearing on the bail petition relating to the Zia Charitable Trust graft case after getting the case document from the lower court concerned. The High Court is supposed to receive the case document from the lower court within 12 days and then start hearing the bail petition,” Moudud explained.

Regarding yesterday’s HC bail order, Moudud said the government wanted to keep the BNP chief in jail for a long time by filing many cases

against her. “We needn’t move the HC for getting bail in two defamation cases as the lower court should have granted her bail in the cases. But the BNP chief could not get bail even in the bailable offences from the lower court due to the government’s interference,” barrister Moudud, also the former law minister, alleged.

There is a Supreme Court order that a lower court is bound to grant bail in bailable offences. “But we know that the courts didn’t grant bail even in the bailable offence cases because of political influence,” Moudud said.

However, Tuesday’s High Court order that granted bail to Khaleda in two defamation cases would help the BNP chief to come out from jail, he added.

The HC bench of Justice Muhammad Abdul Hafiz and Justice Ahmed Sohel passed the order after hearing separate petitions.

One of the cases was filed in 2014 for hurting religious sentiments, and the other for making derogatory remarks about the country’s founding President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 2016.

Khaleda Zia was implicated in as many as 37 cases on charges of corruption, killing people by setting fire to motor vehicles, creating anarchy, violence, sedition, and making defamatory statements.

Among them, the courts completed the trial proceedings of two cases. The courts sentenced Khaleda to 17 years in jail in connection with two graft cases —10 years in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case and seven years in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case. Of the remaining 35, police submitted charge-sheets in 17 cases, which were currently pending in different courts, while the remaining cases are now under investigation, sources of the prosecution and defence said.

Of the cases, four were filed during the tenure of the Army-backed 1/11 government that ruled between 2006 and 2008. The cases were filed involving corruption in Barapukuria Coal Mine, GATCO, NIKO and Zia Orphanage Trust. The remaining 33 cases were filed during the past two consecutive tenures of the Awami League-led government from 2009 to 2018. The cases were filed in Dhaka and Comilla against the BNP chief for hurling bombs, setting fire to a bus at Jatrabari in the city and preventing law enforcement agencies from discharging their duties and defamation charges.

Khaleda has been in jail since February 8 last year following a special court verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case that sentenced her to five years in jail. The release of Khaleda is being delayed because even if she obtains bail in one case, she will be arrested in another case due to political reason, pro-BNP lawyers alleged.

The two cases, in which the BNP chief has to secure bail to walk out of jail, are now pending before the HC and the Supreme Court.

An appeal, filed along with the bail petition of Khaleda, seeks quashing of the trial court verdict that sentenced her to seven years in jail in connection with the Zia Charitable Trust graft case. It has been pending before the High Court.

The HC bench, comprising Justice Obaidul Hasan and Justice S.M. Kuddus Zaman, had on April 30 accepted the BNP chief’s appeal and ordered the lower court to submit before it the Charitable Trust case documents within two months for its review.

The HC bench also said it would consider Khaleda Zia’s bail plea in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case after getting the case documents from the lower court.

Pro-BNP lawyers expressed hope that the case documents would reach the HC within 12 days from the lower court and the HC would grant her bail in the case immediately.

A special court in Dhaka, on October 29, 2018, found Khaleda guilty in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case — in absentia — and sentenced her to seven years of rigorous imprisonment. She was also fined Tk. 10 lakh and given an additional six months more jail term if she failed to pay the sum. On August 8, 2011, the ACC had filed the case against four people, including Khaleda.

On the other hand, a leave to appeal petition filed by the BNP chief challenging the HC verdict that enhanced her punishment from five years to 10 years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, has been pending before the Appellate Division.

Khaleda Zia had, on March 14, filed a leave to appeal petition before the SC to suspend her punishment, grant her bail, as well as a stay order on the effectiveness of her punishment in the case.

On October 30, 2018, the HC bench of Justice M. Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman extended the BNP chief’s jail term.

On February 8, 2018, a special court convicted Khaleda Zia and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

On March 12 last year, the BNP chief secured four months’ bail from the HC in the case and moved the court challenging her conviction on February 19.

The ACC filed the case against Khaleda and others in Ramna police station on July 3, 2008, accusing them of misappropriating Tk. 2.1 crore in donations meant for a trust set up in her husband’s name.

Pro-BNP lawyers, however, expressed hope that the BNP chief would be released after securing bail from the apex court in a very short time. “Everyone has to wait till the HC as well as the apex court order regarding the bail of the BNP chief,” they said.

SR

 

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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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