BNP leader Moudud Ahmed has said the prosecution has failed to prove the charges of corruption against Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust case.
Moudud, one of the counsels for Khaleda in the case, said, “There is no witness against her in the case. ACC has failed to produce any evidence suggesting she is involved in any way or other in the case.”
He was speaking to reporters on Tuesday outside the court on the fourth day of argument at Fifth Special Judge’s Court presided over by Md Aktaruzzaman at Bakshibazar in Dhaka.
Khaleda’s lawyer Abdur Rezak Khan presented the argument that continued from 11am to 4pm in her presence
“The charges have been brought beyond the FIR (first information report). Sonali Bank was mentioned as the financial institution in the FIR but nothing is there though they have been saying all along that Khaleda Zia opened the account, took money, distributed fund and founded the trust through her daughter-in-law,” he said.
Moudud said framing charges this way by using information outsie FIR and without evidence was a violation of section 221 of the CrPC.
Rezak Khan referred to the ACC statement presented to the Supreme Court. He said ACC told Appellate Division that Khaleda Zia had abused her when she was prime minister but it failed to provide any evidence.
“You cannot say anything (before court) based on guesswork.”
“It is said in the chargesheet that Khaleda’s approval was taken but there is no proof,” he argued and added, “It is also not true that the Trust is invisible or traceless.”
The hearing resumes Wednesday.
Three other lawyers for the BNP chief, Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, AJ Mohammad Ali and Jamiruddin Sircar, are likely to take part in the arguments.
Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol presented the State’s arguments on Dec 20.
Judge Akhtaruzzaman has set aside Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to hear the arguments of the defence.
Khaleda has already presented her statement over seven days, wrapping it up on Dec 5.
Of the other defendants, former MP Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed are out on bail.
On Jan 26 this year, a warrant was issued for Khaleda’s son Tarique Rahman, who has been in the UK for the last nine years and has warrants in several others cases.
The two others accused in the case—former principal secretary to the PM Kamal Uddin Siddique and one Mominur Rahman, nephew of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman, are absconding.
The Anti-Corruption Commission started the case in 2008, accusing Khaleda and five others of embezzling Tk 21 million from foreign aid collected for the Zia Orphanage Trust.
The court started the trial in 2014, around five years after the investigator submitted the charges. The final verdict will follow the hearing of the state and defence arguments.
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