Tuesday, March 20, 2018 | ePaper

Khaleda files appeal

Hearing on bail plea tomorrow: Claims innocence on 42 grounds

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Staff Reporter :
BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia on Tuesday filed an appeal petition with the High Court (HC) challenging the lower court verdict that sentenced her to five years imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust case.
In the 1222-page appeal petition, Khaleda Zia prayed to the High Court to acquit her of the corruption charge and grant her bail in the case on 42 grounds, Advocate Zainul Abedin, a lawyer for the BNP Chief, told The New Nation.
Advocate Abdur Rezzak Khan filed the appeal petition in the concern section of the High Court on behalf of the BNP chief. Then Advocate Zainul Abedin and Barrister A M Mahbub Uddin Khokan mentioned the appeal petition in the court the same day and the High Court fixed Thursday for hearing on whether it will accept the appeal.
The Bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim passed the order after hearing the lawyers. The bench will also hear the bail plea on Thursday, sources said.
Khaleda Zia also prayed to the court to stay the lower court verdict that also fined her Tk 2.10 crore claiming her innocent. She mentioned 42 grounds in the petition on which the HC may consider her prayer, the lawyer said.
At first Advocate Zainul Abedin told the court that they had filed an appeal on behalf of Khaleda Zia.
Then Deputy Attorney General Farhad Ahmed said that they needed a copy if there  was any bail petition with the appeal file.
The court then directed Khaleda Zia's lawyers to supply a copy of the appeal petition to the state.
Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokan then said, "Tomorrow (Wednesday) is vacant day. We will provide the copy on Thursday."
At this stage Attorney General Mahbubey Alam also demanded a copy of the appeal petition and requested the court to fix Sunday for hearing.
Then the court directed Khaleda Zia's lawyers to supply a copy to the state within Tuesday and fixed Thursday for appeal hearing.
The court said, "Normally cases of the ACC come for hearing in every Wednesday and Thursday. So, this case will be in the cause list on Thursday."
Khaleda Zia filed the appeal a day after the Special Judge's Court-5 of Dhaka, which found Khaleda guilty in the graft case on February 8, released the full verdict on Monday.
After the appeal was filed, Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokan said the Anti-Corruption Commission has brought false and fabricated charges against Khaleda Zia in the case and the original documents were not produced before the trial court.
Barrister Moudud Ahmed, Barrister Jamir Uddin Sircar, Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, Barrister Kayser Kamal and Barrister A K M Ehsanur Rahman were present in the court on behalf of BNP Chairperson during hearing of the appeal petition.
Judge of the Special Court-5 of Dhaka, Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, sentenced former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to five years imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The special court also sentenced Khaleda Zia's eldest son and BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Tk 2.10 crore each.
The other convicts are Kazi Salimul Haque, ex-BNP lawmaker from Magura, Sharfuddin Ahmed, a businessman, Mominur Rahman, a cousin of Tarique Rahman and Kamal Uddin Siddique, former Principal Secretary to the PM.
The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case with Ramna Police Station in July 2008, accusing Khaleda Zia and the five convicts of misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore that had come from a foreign bank as grants for orphans.
On February 11, the Special Court directed the jail authorities to provide Khaleda Zia with first-class division in line with the jail code as well as allowing her house help to stay with her in jail.
Though pro-BNP lawyers and the party are claiming that Khaleda will get bail and she will be eligible for the next general election after filing an appeal with the apex court, legal and election experts have no clear answer to it as they think it fully depends on the apex court.
As per Article 66(2) (d) of the Constitution, anyone sentenced to jail for a term not less than two years for ethical or moral misconduct, and until five years have elapsed since the date of his/her release shall be disqualified for the contesting the parliamentary election.
Law Minister Anisul Huq said there are two verdicts of the Supreme Court and the High Court in this regard. "One verdict says until the disposal of the appeal the case proceeding is considered incomplete and the person is not convicted. So, the convicted person will be able to take part in polls."
However, the other verdict says the convicted person cannot take part in the national election with having an appeal against the lower court conviction pending. "So, the apex court and the Election Commission will decide it now."

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