The High Court today started hearing on a petition filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia seeking bail in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case in which she has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.
After concluding today’s proceedings, the HC bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice SM Kuddus Zaman fixed 2:00pm tomorrow for resuming the hearing.
Defence lawyers Advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, Advocate Zainul Abedin and Barrister AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon argued for Khaleda’s bail while Anti-Corruption Commission’s lawyer Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan opposed her bail petition.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam is expected to place arguments tomorrow.
Khaleda Zia’s lawyers told the court there was no corruption in establishing the Zia Charitable Trust. As the Trust was a private organisation, there was no scope for the government to interfere in it, they said.
Khaleda Zia has been suffering from different diseases including diabetes and dental problem, and she has already served two and half years in jail in this case and therefore she deserves bail in the case, the defence lawyers said.
On October 29 last year, a special court in Dhaka convicted Khaleda in the case and sentenced her to seven years’ imprisonment.
It also awarded the same jail term to Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to then prime minister Khaleda Zia, his assistant personal secretary Ziaul Haq Munna, and Monirul Islam Khan, assistant personal secretary to then Dhaka mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
The ACC filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station on August 8, 2011.
The BNP chief landed in jail after being sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case by the same court on February 8 last year.
The HC on October 30 last year enhanced her punishment to 10 years in the case after dismissing her appeal.