A court here on Monday summoned BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, now on bail, and other accused in the Barapukuria coalmine graft case to appear before it on April 13, reports UNB. Responding to a time petition, Judge Hosna Ara Begum of Dhaka Special Judge’s Court-2 passed the order. Zainul Abedin Misbah, the counsel for Khaleda, moved the time petition seeking adjournment of the proceedings as the petition challenging the legality of the case remains pending before the High Court for order. An HC division bench, comprising Justice M Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Justice JBM Hassan, on Sunday rescheduled April 5 for order on its long-pending rule asking the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to explain why the case filed against BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia should not be quashed.
Nearly six and half years back, responding to a petition filed by Khaleda Zia challenging the legality of the case, the HC on October 16, 2008 had stayed the case proceedings and issued a rule upon the ACC. During the military-backed caretaker government, the ACC on February 26, 2008 filed the case with Shahbagh Police Station in the capital accusing ex- Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and others, including her former 10 cabinet colleagues, of taking kickbacks amounting to about Tk 159 crore on the Barapukuria Coalmine deal awarded to the highest bidder instead of the lowest one.
On October 5, 2008, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia along with her 10 cabinet colleagues and five other bureaucrats were charge-sheeted in the Barapukuria graft case. ACC deputy director Abul Kashem Fakir, the investigating officer (IO), submitted the charge sheet in the high-profile case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) court of Dhaka. The charge sheet was submitted under sections 409/109 of the Penal Code and section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947.