Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia’s counsel told the Dhaka Special Judge’s Court-5 on Thursday that the charge was not read out before the indictment of Khaleda and others in Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Orphanage Trust case in March 2014.
Khaleda’s defence counsel Abdur Rezzaque Khan said this in his closing argument for the second day in the case.
The court posted for December 26, 27 and 28 the rest of the arguments.
Dozens of police, both in uniform and plainclothes, were deployed inside the courtroom of special judge Akhtaruzzaman, set up at Bakhshibazar in Dhaka, while several hundred others with riot gears, water cannon and armed personnel vehicles were deployed around the court boundary, restricting traffic.
During the argument, Rezzaque Khan alleged that the investigation into the case was half-hearted and partial, and was launched during the period of ‘army-backed interim regime.
The Anti-Corruption Commission on July 3, 2008, filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case with Ramna police station accusing Khaleda, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, former lawmaker Quazi Salimul Haq Kamal, businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, former bureaucrat Kamal Uddin Siddiqui and BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s nephew Mominur Rahman of embezzlement of over Tk 21 million brought from abroad for the orphans.
Abdur Rezzaque Khan argued that the investigators did not contact Kuwait central bank from where the fund came to Bangladesh nearly three decades ago and they had not contacted Saudi Arab central bank from which country the money was remitted to Bangladesh.
‘The time of filing of the case is very important. We found the process was done hurriedly. None of the state procedures can be run for hurriedly,’ said the defence counsel.
He said that there was serious contradiction between two investigators assigned by the commission.
Rezzaque said that the first inquiry officer found no evidence against Khaleda and observed that the issue was related to trust while the second inquiry officer within two weeks implicated Khaleda and brought criminal charge against her and five others.
The anti-graft body also filed Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon police station on August 8, 2011 against Khaleda, Tarique, former Dhaka city mayor Sadek Hossain’s personal secretary Monirul Islam Khan, Khaleda’s former political secretary Haris Chowdhury and former BIWTA director Ziaul Islam Munna on charge of embezzling Tk 31.5 million from the trust.
The police detained nearly two dozen BNP activists near High Court shrine crossing on Thursday when they were gathering on footpath to greet BNP chief on her return from the court.
‘We are verifying their identities,’ said Ramna division deputy commissioner Maruf Hossain Sorder.
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