Corruption case: Bangladesh HC asks former PM Khaleda Zia to surrender in 2 months

Dhaka: Bangladesh High Court on Thursday asked former prime minister Khaleda Zia to surrender before a trial court within two months in connection with a graft case in which she is accused of awarding a gas field contract to a Canadian firm resulting in a loss of over 13,000 crore Taka.

 Corruption case: Bangladesh HC asks former PM Khaleda Zia to surrender in 2 months

Former Bangalesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. Agencies

"The High Court withdrew a temporary ban on proceedings over the Niko case... they asked her to surrender before the (lower) trial court in two months," an official of the Supreme Court's registrar office told PTI.

The two-member bench comprising Justices Nuruzzaman and Zafar Ahmed rejected BNP chief Zia's petition seeking to scrap the case and asked the concerned court to consider her bail prayer "unless she misuses the privilege", he said.

The High Court in 2008 had suspended the proceedings of the case which it lifted on Thursday.

The Niko case was launched during the past military backed interim government in 2007 after the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) accused Zia, 69, and 10 others of causing a loss of nearly 13,777 crore Taka by reaching a non-transparent deal with the Canadian company.

The orders came hours after a lower court deferred the hearing in two alleged graft cases against Zia in which she could be jailed for life if found guilty.

Earlier on Thursday, Zia appeared before a makeshift court at Bakshibazar amid heavy security.

This was her third appearance in the court in 10 weeks as she is being tried on two graft charges in which she is accused of misappropriating an amount of 52.5 million Taka involving Zia Orphanage Trust graft and Charitable Trust

Zia's counsels had submitted two petitions seeking adjournment of Thursday's hearing in the two cases as they had earlier placed a writ petition with the High Court for expunging the recording statement of the complainant in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case which is now pending.

They will submit the same petition in connection with Zia Charitable Trust corruption, the lawyers said.

As Thursday's court proceedings began, Zia's counsels cross-examined Harun-ur-Rashid in Zia Charitable Trust graft case. His recording statement was completed by the court.

Harun, plaintiff of both the cases, is a deputy director of the Anti Corruption Commission. The court completed recording the statement of Harun.

Earlier on 25 May, Judge Jamadar had adjourned hearing till Thursday in the two graft cases filed against Zia and eight others.

Zia's elder son and Bangladesh Nationalist Party's senior vice president Tarique Rahman, who now lives in London, is a co-accused in the cases while the court earlier declared him "fugitive" as he preferred not to face the trial in person, returning home.

PTI

Updated Date: Jun 18, 2015 20:46:46 IST