Khaleda Zia’s graft case deposition deferred

Dhaka : A court here has again deferred the recording of testimony in the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.

The deposition was to take place in a makeshift court at the Alia Madrasa in old Dhaka Wednesday, reported.

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Special judge Basudeb Roy set July 27 as the new date after the defence sought more time.

The new date was allowed as a petition challenging the legality of judge Roy’s appointment is awaiting hearing in the appellate division July 23.

The hearing to record testimonies in the two graft cases had been deferred for the third time, a court official said.

Khaleda May 12 challenged the legality of appointment of judge Basudeb Roy who indicted her in the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases March 19.

She also sought a stay on the case proceedings.

After a two-day hearing, justice Farah Mahbub issued a ruling and ordered a freeze on the proceedings of the cases, while justice Kazi Md. Ejarul Haque Akondo wanted to scrap the petitions.

According to rules, the matter was forwarded to the chief justice who assigned justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque’s bench to hear the pleas.

The former prime minister had moved high court, challenging the indictment but the court dismissed her plea.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2008 filed a case against six, including Khaleda and her son Tarique Rahman, for allegedly embezzling 21 million taka ($273,093) from Zia Orphanage Trust funds, which reportedly came from a foreign bank.

Charges were pressed against them two years later.

In 2011, the ACC accused the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief and three others of misappropriating 31.5 million taka from the Zia Charitable Trust.

The national anti-graft agency prosecuted the four in a chargesheet in 2012.