A special court here on Thursday decided to try imprisoned BNP chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia in absentia in a graft case as she was “unwilling” to appear at the makeshift court complex inside Old Dhaka Central Jail.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Special Judge Court-5 passed the order upon a petition submitted earlier by the prosecution seeking the trial to continue in her absence.
The court decision came as Begum Zia earlier on September 5 appeared at the makeshift court a day after the trial venue was selected under an official order but expressed her unwillingness about her further appearance there to stand trial.
On the next date of hearing on September 12, she was absent while the prison authorities in a note informed the judge that they could not produce her in view of her unwillingness.
The prosecution sought the ex-premier to be tried in absentia on the subsequent hearing date on September 13 when the judge set for today for announcing its decision on the matter.
The judge today set September 24 for the next hearing of the Zia Charitable Trust case.
On September 4, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry issued a gazette notification to hold the trial of the case with Begum Zia being the accused at the Old Dhaka Central Jail after setting up the makeshift court there.
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case with capital’s Tejgaon Police Station on August 8, 2010, for embezzling Taka 3.15 crore while police on January 16, 2012, filed charge sheet against four including the ex-premier.
The other accused are Khaleda’s former political secretary Haris Chowdhury, the then BIWTA director Ziaul Islam Munna and Monirul Islam Khan, former personal secretary of former Dhaka city mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka.
The court framed charges against Khaleda and others in the case on March 19, 2014
The BNP chairperson is now serving a five-year jail term on another graft case involving another charity, also named after her husband and BNP’s founder slain president Ziaur Rahman since she was convicted on February 8 this year.-BSS