Intention is to harass Khaleda BNP chief’s counsel tells court about Zia orphanage graft case

The lawyer of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday argued that none of the 32 witnesses in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case could testify that she had abused power when she was in office.

Abdur Rezak Khan, a senior counsel of Khaleda, during the argument also said the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case “with an intention to harass her”.

“The Anti-Corruption Commission has failed to prove any of the allegations brought against her,” Rezak Khan added.

The lawyer of the former premier placed the closing arguments before the Dhaka Special Court-5 in Bakshibazar for the third consecutive day.

Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the makeshift court adjourned the argument hearing for yesterday. The next day for closing arguments is today.

On December 21, the court fixed December 26-28 for placing the defence’s closing arguments in the graft cases against Khaleda.

The BNP chief yesterday appeared before the court around 11:30am and stayed there until the adjournment around 4:00pm. She remained seated inside the courtroom surrounded by pro-BNP lawyers, party colleagues and aides.

On July 3, 2008, the ACC filed the graft case with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda, her eldest son Tarique Rahman and four others of misappropriating over Tk 2.1 crore that came as grants from a foreign bank for the orphans.

Three years later, the anti-graft body filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon police, accusing four people including Khaleda of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.

After the end of the hearing yesterday, defence lawyers Abdur Rezak Khan and Moudud Ahmed told reporters that the corruption case was politically motivated.

“There is no merit in the graft charge filed against the BNP chairperson and the prosecution have failed to prove it,” said Moudud, also a former law minister.

“We hope she [Khaleda] would get acquittal in the case,” Moudud, a standing committee member of the BNP, said.