Court defers Khaleda hearing to Apr 25 in Zia Charitable Trust case

The former prime minister appeared before Dhaka’s Third Special Judge’s Court on Sunday in the case, which accuses her of embezzling Tk 31.5 million of the Trust.

The court was scheduled to record her deposition on Sunday, but Khaleda’s lawyers petitioned for a fresh testimony of the investigating officer, which the court turned down.

The BNP chairperson’s counsel then appealed for a fresh cross-examination of the investigating officer, which was also scrapped.

A heated argument erupted in the courtroom between the prosecution and the defence over the matter, when Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar deferred recording Khaleda’s statement and fixed Apr 25 to hear it.

In 2010, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case against Khaleda and four others with the Tejgaon police.

In 2012, charges were pressed against four, including the former prime minister.

The three others accused are Khaleda’s former political affairs secretary Haris Chowdhury, former BIWTA acting director Ziaul Islam Munna and former Dhaka mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka’s personal secretary Monirul Islam Khan.

In 2013, the trial began after the court indicted the four.

On Mar 31 this year, the defence finished cross-examining the investigation officer ACC Deputy Director Harun ur Rashid.

The court had then fixed Apr 7 to hear Khaleda’s statement, but it was deferred as the BNP chief pleaded for more time. 

Two others accused in the case — Ziaul Islam Munna and Monirul Islam Khan — have pleaded not guilty while Haris Chowhdury is absconding.      

ACC lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajal said that the court would record the statement of the former prime minister after the depositions of state witnesses were read out to her in the Charitable Trust case.