DHAKA: A court here on Monday (September 23) fixed October 14 to hold next hearing on the charge framing in Niko Graft case against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and 10 others.
Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman of the a temporary court set up at the Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj deferred the date of hearing following the time petition filed by the state.
The BNP chief, who is now undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), couldn’t appear before the court during today’s (September 23) hearing.
BNP chief Khaleda Zia, convicted in Zia Orphanage and Charitable Trusts graft cases, was taken to BSMMU from old central jail due to her illness on April 1.
Earlier on March 19, Khaleda Zia came to the court being seated in a wheelchair around 12:40pm.
On March 3, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia told a local court that jail authorities did not produce her for trial in Niko graft case on February 20.
Speaking from a wheelchair on that day’s charge framing hearing in the case, Khaleda Zia told the judge that she was “ready to appear” that day.
“I was ready but jail authority did not produce me before the court. Rather it was said that I did not wake up from sleep. It was not right,” she said.
Earlier on February 20, a court here fixed March 19 to hold hearing on the charge framing in the Niko Graft case.
On that day, during the charge hearing, jail authorities said Khaleda could not be produced as she “did not wake up from sleep”.
Apart from BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, former Law Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed, former secretaries Md Shafiur Rahman, Khondker Shahidul Islam, CM Yusuf Hossain and former President of Dhaka Club Selim Bhuiyan are among the prime accused of the case.
The other three accused—Former secretary Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, former General Manager of Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration & Production Company Limited (BAPEX) Meer Moinul Haque and Niko South Asia Affairs Vice President Kashem Sharif -are absconding.
In December 2007, the ACC filed the case accusing the 11 people over misusing power to grant a gas deal to Canadian company Niko when Khaleda was the prime minister of Bangladesh between 2001 and 2006.
Khaleda Zia has been serving her 10 years extended jail sentence in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case since February 8, 2018
BDST: 1350 HRS, Sep 23, 2019