Trial of 14 more cases including three graft cases filed against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will be held at a makeshift court building at Govt Madrasah-E-Alia in the city’s Bakshibazar area.
The Law and Justice Division of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs on Sunday issued three gazette notifications to that end.
The cases against Khaleda Zia have been shifted to a single court for security concerns, not on political ground, Law Minister Anisul Huq has meanwhile told reporters at his Secretariat office.
Trial of the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases filed against Khaleda has been going on at the same makeshift court.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Special Judge’s Court-5 of Dhaka is conducting trial of the two cases. The defence are now placing their arguments in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Upon completion of the arguments in the Zia Orphanage Trust case, both the prosecution and the defence would start their arguments in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
The same division had earlier issued a similar gazette notification for trial of the ongoing two graft cases in a single court on security ground.
Of the cases, three graft cases — Gatco, Niko and Barapukuria Coalmine cases filed during the military-backed caretaker government — are pending with three special judge’s courts. Nine arson cases were filed during the non-stop movement enforced by the BNP-led 20-party alliance in January, February and March of 2015 with Jatrabari and Darussalam police.
All the nine cases are now pending with the Court of Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge.
Trial of most of the arson cases were earlier stayed by the High Court following writ petitions challenging legality of the order for taking into cognisance the charges on different dates, said defence lawyer Zainul Abedin Mesbah.
Two other cases have been filed in connection with derogatory remarks about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the country’s sovereignty. The cases are pending with two courts of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka.
All the conducting judges and magistrates would conduct the trial proceedings of the cases at the makeshift court in Bakshibazar on the scheduled dates, court sources said.
Former prime minister Khaleda Zia now faces more than 32 cases including a sedition one filed in Dhaka and Comilla.
GATCO GRAFT CASE
Trial of the Gatco graft case is now pending with the Special Judge’s Court-3 of Dhaka.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case on September 2, 2007 with Tejgaon police against Khaleda, her youngest son late Arafat Rahman Koko, Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, who was hanged for his war crimes, and 10 others.
According to the case statement, there was corruption in awarding a contract to Global Agro Trade (Pvt) Company Ltd (Gatco) for container management at inland depots in Dhaka and Chittagong. The graft cost the state exchequer more than Tk 1,000 crore, it was alleged.
NIKO GRAFT CASE
Trial of the Niko graft case is now pending with the Special Judge’s Court-9 of Dhaka.
The ACC filed the case in December 2007 accusing Khaleda and several others of abusing power to award a gas exploration and extraction deal to Canadian company Niko when she was the prime minister between 2001 and 2006.
BARAPUKURIA COALMINE GRAFT CASE
The trial of the Barapukuria coalmine graft case is now pending with the Special Judge’s Court-2 of Dhaka.
The ACC filed the case with Shahbagh police on February 26, 2008 accusing 16 people including Khaleda and 10 of her former cabinet colleagues of taking Tk 159 crore in kickbacks on the Barapukuria coalmine deal awarded to the highest bidder instead of the lowest one.