Khaleda Zia ordered to appear before court in sedition case

Dhaka, Former Bangladesh prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was today ordered to appear before a court here on January 9 in connection with a sedition case while she pleaded not guilty in another corruption case.

The court of Metropolitan Sessions Judge Quamrul Hossain Molla was scheduled to hold the hearings of indictment in 10 cases, including for sedition against the 71-year-old leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

But her counsels asked for more time, which the court granted.

The hearing was rescheduled for January 9, but the judge warned that it would cancel the former prime minister’s bail if she fails to attend, said Additional Prosecutor Tapash Paul.

Khaleda also appeared before Dhaka’s Third Special Judge in connection with the Zia Orphanage Trust case and pleaded not guilty and said she wanted to produce witnesses to testify for her.

The three-time prime minister is among the five, who stand accused of embezzling Taka 31.5 million in the case filed by Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2010.

The other accused in the case are Khaleda’s former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, his personal assistant Ziaul Islam Munna, former Dhaka City mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka’s personal assistant Monirul Islam Khan.

Judge Abu Ahmed Jomader of Special Judge Court-3, a special court in Bakhshibazar, concluded hearing and set December 8 as the next hearing date, The Daily Star reported.

According to the charge sheet in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case filed in 2008, Khaleda, her son Tarique Rahman and four others embezzled Tk 2.1 crore by forming the charity that exists only on paper.

The ACC filed the other graft case in 2011 accusing Khaleda and three others of abusing power to set up a charitable trust named after Ziaur Rahman, according to the commission.