The Dhaka Special Judge’s Court 5 on Tuesday posted for October 29 the pronouncement of verdict in Zia Charitable Trust without hearing defence arguments for jailed Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia and three others.
The judge, Md Akhtaruzzaman, set the date rejecting a petition filed by Khaleda’s defence counsel for an adjournment of the proceedings stating that they would appeal against a High Court order passed on October 14 for continuation of the trial in her absence.
The same court on February 8 jailed Khaleda for five years in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The court passed the order on Tuesday after Anti-Corruption Commission prosecutor Musharraf Hossain Kajol reiterated argument for the delivery of the verdict skipping defence arguments for jailed Khaleda in her absence.
The prosecutor also accused the defence counsel of none-cooperation with the court.
Defence counsel for two other accused––former prime minister’s political adviser Abdul Harris Chowdhury’s assistant private secretary Ziaul Islam Munna and former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka’s assistant private secretary Monirul Islam Khan––Aminul Islam was absent from the makeshift courtroom in the old Dhaka Central Jail.
Aminul said that they skipped the hearing as they had already submitted an application expressing no-confidence in the court and would move to the High Court.
Khaleda Zia has been in jail since February 8, when the same judge jailed her for five years. She is now undergoing treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University under a special medical board.
Ziaul Islam Munna and Monirul Islam Khan were also sent to jail in September after they had expressed no-confidence in the court.
Abul Harris Chowdhury is being trial in his absence as he is still in hiding.
Prosecutor Musharraf Hossain on September 26 filed an application for the delivery of the verdict stating that the defence counsel were not going to make final arguments while Khaleda was unwilling to appear in the court.
The defence counsel, however, had argued that they wanted ailing Khaleda, now in jail custody, to appear before the court after recovery from her illness and the counsel for two other accused argued for hearing in presence of all the accused except the fugitive Harris.
The prosecutors cited Section 540A of the Code of Criminal Procedure that stipulated provisions for inquiries and trial in the absence of accused in certain cases.
Defence lawyers Sanaullah Miah and Masud Ahmed Talukdar argued that the provision could be used for the person escaping trial but Khaleda was in jail and sick.
Appearing in the makeshift courtroom inside jail on September 5, jailed Khaleda said,‘There is no justice here. Punish me as much as you want, but I cannot appear here [the court] frequently as I am sick.’
On March 19, 2014, special judge Bashudev Roy framed the charges reportedly without reading out those in front of Khaleda and others.
After the order the court passed from the chamber amid chaos, Khaleda told New Age, ‘The judge did not even appear in the court when charges were framed.’
The case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission on August 8 2011, Khaleda and the three of collecting Tk 3,15,43,000 illegally in the name of Zia Charitable Trust and subsequently withdrawing the money in an attempt of misappropriation.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday said that the trial of jailed Khaleda in absence from the court was ‘unlawful’ as well as the delivery of judgement in her absence would also be an ‘unlawful’ job.
Talking to journalists after attending a meeting of Jaitiya Oikya Front at Uttara in Dhaka, he said that it proved judicial system in the country had totally broken down and the government took control of it.
News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net