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26 February, 2018 12:27:43 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 26 February, 2018 01:01:01 PM

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Order on Khaleda bail after case records from lower court

Hearing on bail plea in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case concludes
STAFF REPORTER
Order on Khaleda bail after case records from lower court

The High Court (HC) yesterday concluded the hearing on a bail petition filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia challenging the lower court verdict that awarded her five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. “Hearing on the bail petition has concluded.

An order will be passed after the arrival of case records from the lower court,” said the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim. According to the previous schedule, the two justices entered the courtroom at 2.12pm. Hundreds of lawyers were already present, creating a chaotic situation inside the courtroom.

“It seems that both parties have gathered lawyers to create pressure on the judges. The courtroom must be calm and quiet. We're leaving the room for 10 minutes. Please create a congenial atmosphere,” observed the HC bench.

After that, both the judges left the courtroom after entrusting the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president and secretary to manage the chaotic situation. Some of the lawyers went outside after being requested by SCBA president Joynul Abedin and its secretary Mahbub Uddin Khokan.

The judges re-entered the courtroom at 2.31pm and asked the appellant lawyers to submit their argument.

Advocate AJ Mohammad Ali, one of the counsel for Khaleda Zia, told the court that the BNP chairperson has been languishing in jail since the lower court verdict. “I have mentioned her present and past situations in the petition. She was sentenced for a short period of time. Usually, the HC gives bail to the appellant if they get a short-time conviction,” he said.

Ali also said that Khaleda’s health condition is not good. "She is an elderly woman of 73 years. As per section 497 of the Criminal Procedure of Code (CrPC), Khaleda can get bail in consideration of her age and health condition," he argued.

Opposing Ali's submission, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer advocate Khurshid Alam Khan told the court that Khaleda could not get bail under Section 497 of CrPC as her counsel did not submit any medical certificate along with bail petition.

He also argued that a person's age should not be considered in case of a bail petition because many prisoners aged over 73 years are still being kept in jail.

Citing two cases in the Appellate Division, Alam said that the apex court has discouraged the High Court Division to grant bail to those accused persons who had been sentenced by the lower court for a short period.

However, the HC bench replied that those instances of the Appellate Division could not be substantiated in the present case.

The gravity of the offence should be considered before granting bail and a short period of sentence cannot be any ground for bail.

Taking part in the hearing, attorney general (AG) Mahbubey Alam told the court that it is an important and historic case.

He said the money of orphans had been siphoned off. The summery of the bank account and other documents were placed before Khaleda Zia and she had signed on them. She cannot avoid the responsibility in this regard, he added.

Mahbubey Alam also said that defence lawyers tried to delay the trial proceedings of the case, which would become clear if anyone observes of the lower court verdict.

“If you grant the bail, the hearing on the appeal could not take place even in five years,” he added.

The court replied that if both parties are keen to hold hearing on the appeal, it is possible to hold it within a short period.

In reply, the AG said that former president HM Ershad was in jail for a long time in connection with corruption. If Khaleda gets bail so soon after being convicted, it would be discrimination, he added.

“Is it any question?” the HC told the AG.

"It could be the subject of a talk show. We could not conduct the judicial proceeding by considering this matter," it said.

In replying to another point raised by the AG, the HC said that it is unfortunate that if any verdict goes in favour of the state, it is showcased as a historic verdict and otherwise it is termed as directory judgment.

Mohammad Ali again submitted the petition to the court, saying that there are many instances of granting bail by the higher court in case of the incarceration of an elderly woman. “The HC has granted bail in 302 cases only on the ground of the accused being an old woman. I humbly pray to the court to grant Khaleda Zia bail in the case on that ground,” he added.

The same HC bench on February 22 had ordered the lower court to send the case records to this bench in 15 days.

On Thursday, Khaleda filed an appeal with the HC, challenging the lower court verdict that sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in a graft case and also sought bail in the case.

Khaleda’s bail extended in Zia Charitable Trust graft case

 Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday extended the bail of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia until today in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.

Judge MD Akhteruzzaman of the special judge court-5 passed the order after Khaleda’s lawyer barrister Moudud Ahmed submitted a petition seeking an extension of her bail.

The same court on February 1 had given Khaleda ad interim bail till yesterday and asked her to appear before it the same day. Since she has already been convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case and now in jail, she could not appear before the court yesterday.

Earlier, public prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol had filed a petition for issuing a production warrant against Khaleda Zia. However, the court is yet to give any order in this regard.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the graft case with Tejgaon police station in August 2011, accusing four persons, including Khaleda Zia, of abusing power to raise funds for the charitable trust from unknown sources. The three other accused are: Harris Chowdhury Ziaul Islam Munna and Monirul Islam Khan.

MK/MK

 

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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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