A Dhaka court yesterday fixed February 12 for hearing on charge-framing against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and 10 others in the Niko graft case.
Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman of Special Judge Court-9 of Dhaka passed the order, after hearing arguments from both defence and prosecution lawyers.
The BNP chief was brought into the court in a wheelchair around 12:35pm. She did not say anything throughout the hearing.
On the other hand, BNP standing committee member Barrister Moudud Ahmed, an accused in the case, appeared at the hearing and challenged the legality of charge-framing.
“There are many contradictions in the Niko case. All allegations here are made based on assumptions,” said Barrister Moudud.
“Those who have committed crimes are not facing the trial in the Niko case. But we are facing the trial, although we only maintained the continuity of the agreement,” he added.
The BNP leader also filed a time petition which the court accepted and set the next date. Khaleda was taken back to jail around 2pm after the hearing.
During the hearing yesterday, Khaleda's lawyer, Advocate Abdur Rezak Khan sought the seized documents saying that scrutiny of the papers are essential for a legal, useful and proper hearing on charge framing.
The defence will present its depositions after getting the certified copy of the case, the lawyer added.
In response, Special Public Prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajal said the defence should get the certified copy, according to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
However, they did not ask for it in last 12 years, the prosecutor said, adding that defence lawyers are now seeking it only to delay the trial proceedings.
“The defence lawyers have already got all the necessary documents,” the prosecutor also said.
On December 9, 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case accusing Khaleda and others of causing the state a loss of Tk 137.77 billion by signing an oil-gas exploration deal with Canadian company Niko when the BNP was in office.
Police submitted a charge-sheet against the accused on May 5, 2008.
The others accused in the case include Moudud Ahmed, former state minister for energy AKM Mosharraf Hossain and others.
KHALEDA ZIA DENIED BAIL IN CUMILLA MURDER CASE
Meanwhile, a Cumilla court yesterday rejected a bail petition of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in a murder case filed over the killing of eight people and injury of many others in Chauddagram upazila, during anti-government agitations in 2015.
District and Sessions Judge Ali Akbar also fixed February 25 for holding the hearing on charge framing.
On January 23, the High Court directed the Cumilla court concerned to dispose of the bail petition filed by Khaleda in this case.
Advocate Kaimul Haque Rinku argued for Khaleda while Public Prosecutor Mostafizur Rahman Liton appeared for the state.