Khaleda Zia gets permanent bail in graft case

Dhaka: The High Court on Wednesday granted Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia permanent bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case.

The Zia Orphanage Trust graft case was filed in 2008. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) case accused Khaleda, her son Tarique Rahman and four others of embezzling 21 million takas ($259,581), reported.

Justice M. Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim passed the order after holding the final hearing on a ruling issued by the High Court in 2008.

Zia, who served as the Prime Minister from 2001-2006, is accused in 37 cases. She is now on bail in all the cases, her advocate Zakir Hossain Bhuiyan told the Daily Star.

ACC’s lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said the court may cancel the bail if it finds Zia misusing it.

The ACC started the case in 2008 accusing the six of embezzling 21 million takas that arrived as donation for the Zia Orphanage Trust. Khaleda was shown arrested in the case during the tenure of the Army-backed caretaker government.

A High Court bench granted temporary bail to the BNP chairperson on August 26, 2008 and also issued a rule asking why she should not be granted permanent bail.

The government moved the Appellate Division against the order but failed to secure a verdict in its favour. Zia was released on September 11, 2008 and later secured bail from the lower court.

The ACC submitted a chargesheet in the case in 2009. Dhaka’s Third Special Judge Basudeb Roy pressed the charges in 2014 and indicted Zia and five other accused.

Dhaka’s fifth special judge’s court is currently hearing Zia’s statement defending herself.

The ACC has pleaded for the cancellation of Zia’s bail criticising her stay in London in the middle of the trial. The High Court is yet to hear the matter.

On the other hand, Zia has cited her lack of confidence in the presiding judge for the fourth time in the case and pleaded for a new judge. Her plea is pending with the top court.