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Thursday, February 22, 2018 10:48:12 PM
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HC stays lower court fine

Khaleda`s bail hearing Sunday

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Staff Reporter :
The High Court (HC) on Thursday admitted the appeal petition filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia against a lower court verdict that sentenced her to five years imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust case.
At the same time, the court also stayed the lower court fine of Tk 2.10 crore on Khaleda Zia and asked the lower court to forward the case records in the High Court within 15 days.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim passed the order after primary hearing on the appeal petition.
Meanwhile, the HC fixed Sunday for hearing on the bail petition filed by the BNP Chairperson till disposal of the appeal. The court will hear the appeal at 2.00 pm on that day.
Advocate A J Mohammad Ali, Advocate Zainul Abedin and Barrister A M Mahbub Uddin Khokan took part in the hearing in the court on behalf of BNP Chairperson while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Deputy Attorney General Farhad Ahmed stood for the State. Advocate Khurshed Alam Khan defended the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
After the court sat at 10.00am yesterday, Deputy Attorney General Farhad Ahmed informed the court that they have received the copy of the appeal petition just few times ago. So, they needed time to be prepared for appeal hearing.
The court fixed 12.00noon for holding hearing though the state side sought time till 2.00pm. But a noise environment was created in the courtroom as because of the huge crowd of pro-BNP lawyers.
Then the Attorney General told the court that it was not possible to hold hearing in this environment. He prayed to the court to limit the number of the lawyers for both sides. The pro-BNP senior lawyers agreed with the proposal after the court handled this. The court started hearing about 12.00noon after the environment became calm.
Advocate A J Mohammad Ali said, "We have filed  the appeal petition according to the Section 10(1) of the 'Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. An appeal petition is automatically allowed according to the section. It's a custom. I am praying to hold hearing on the appeal petition. The bail petition will be submitted if the court admits the appeal. The trial court sentenced the convict under Section 409."
The court then asked if they had only the appeal petition or any other petition with it.
A J Mohammad Ali said that they were praying to the court for admitting the appeal and their petition was as usual.
Sighting the documents the court said, "There is provision for staying the sentence. But is there any provision to stay the conviction? There is no provision to stay the conviction as per 'Criminal Law (Amendment) Act. But you sought for staying the conviction too."
A J Mohammad Ali said, "It will be sentence. We will make correction there. We are not giving the importance on suspension of sentence or conviction. Please admit the appeal for hearing." Then the court passed the order admitting the appeal petition for hearing.
A J Mohammad Ali said, "She is in custody for 15 days. As she was sentenced for a short term, we are praying her bail. She can be granted bail considering her age and social status."
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam then said, "The court already admitted her appeal petition. We received the bail petition today (Thursday) morning. It should be heard after listed in the cause list."
Then the court said, "The appellant's sentence is shorter. It is a custom of the court to grant bail to a convict like this."
The Attorney General said, "We want to hear it. So, documents should be come in the court. The case has merit to hear. So, we want to hold hear on the case after its coming in the cause list."
ACC's lawyer Khurshed Alam Khan said, "We did not find the chance to hold hearing on the appeal admission."
The court said, "We have given you the chance when you need." Then the ACC's lawyer said, "The ACC is eligible to get reasonable time to take preparation for holding hearing on the cases filed under special act."
After hearing the all sides the court said, "There are many orders from the Appellate Division which allowed bail to the convicts who are sentenced shorter. But those orders were passed before formulating the Special Act. We are fixing Sunday 2.00pm for holding hearing the bail petition granting time to the ACC as per the ACC law."
Judge of the Special Court-5 of Dhaka, Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, sentenced former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to five years imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The special court also sentenced Khaleda Zia's eldest son and BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Tk 2.10 crore each.
The other convicts are Kazi Salimul Haque, ex-BNP lawmaker from Magura, Sharfuddin Ahmed, a businessman, Mominur Rahman, a cousin of Tarique Rahman and Kamal Uddin Siddique, former Principal Secretary to the PM.
After receiving the certified copy of the judgement, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on February 20 in 2018 filed an appeal petition with the High Court (HC) challenging the lower court verdict.
In the 1222-page appeal petition, Khaleda Zia prayed to the High Court to acquit her of the corruption charge and grant her bail in the case on 42 grounds, Advocate Zainul Abedin, a lawyer for the BNP chief, told The New Nation.
Advocate Abdur Rezzak Khan filed the appeal petition in the concern section of the High Court on behalf of the BNP chief.
Khaleda Zia also prayed to the court to stay the lower court verdict that also fined her Tk 2.10 crore claiming her innocent. She mentioned 42 grounds in the petition on which the HC may consider her prayer, the lawyer said.


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