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Proceedings adjourned

Khaleda’s arrest warrant remains in force

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The trial court on Wednesday adjourned the proceedings till April 5 on Khaleda Zia's plea seeking to recall the arrest warrant issued against her in the Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust fund graft cases.
Keeping the petition with the record, Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar of Special Judge's Court-3 set up on the Bakshibazar Alia Madrasah playground passed the order after hearing arguments from both sides in absence of Khaleda Zia. The court proceedings started around 11:20am and continued for nearly two hours. It, however, did not dispose of the recall of warrant petition, keeping the warrant it issued earlier in force.
Special Judge Jamadar declined to entertain the petition by Khaleda's lawyers seeking withdrawal of the arrest warrant it issued on February 25, saying no one can file such a petition remaining fugitive.
Sticking to her guns, Khaleda Zia, also a former Prime Minister and the principal accused in the cases, did not appear before the court despite having the warrant on her head as the government allegedly failed to fulfill her three preconditions-ensuring adequate security, granting bail and safe return to her Gulshan political office, where she has been staying since January 3.
Advocate AJ Mohammad Ali, also a former Attorney General and Masud Ahmed Talukder, newly-elected president of Dhaka Bar Association, appeared for Khaleda Zia, while advocate Mosharraf Hossain Kajol stood for the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) during the hearings.
On February 25, revoking her bail for 'skipping' the trial, the makeshift Special Judge's Court-3 issued a warrant for the arrest of Khaleda Zia along with two other accused in the two graft cases and fixed on Wednesday for the next hearing on the case.
The special court permitted another accused Tarique Rahman's counsel Sanaullah Miah to represent him in the court during hearing on the Zia Orphanage Trust fund graft case in his absence.
During the hearing, defence counsel Ali told the court that his client could not come to the court for security reasons.
He also informed that they have submitted a petition to the High Court seeking no-confidence in the incumbent judge of the special court No-3.
The High Court will hear the petition on Thursday, he told the court. At one stage, the judge asked the ACC lawyer whether Khaleda's lawyers have jurisdiction to file petitions for her when the accused remains absent in the court.
Responding to the court, ACC lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol said, "As Khaleda Zia didn't appear before the court, no one can file such petitions on her behalf."
Last of all, the judge adjourned the proceedings till April 5.
Emerging from the court, ACC prosecutor Kajol termed Khaleda Zia fugitive saying that on February 25 the court issued a warrant for her arrest but she did not turn up before the court on (Wednesday). "So, she's a fugitive in the eyes of law and the warrant remains in force." Besides, Kajol said though there is no legal scope of the accused to seek bail without appearing before it, but the senior lawyers made arguments on her bail petition. Closing the hearing, the court kept the petition with the record, he added.
Meanwhile, Khaleda's counsel Sanaullah Miah told reporters that since the court has kept the bail petition with the record that means it maintains status quo on warrant as the court neither allowed nor turned down Khaleda's bail petition.
Sanaullah further said following a petition the court allowed him to appear for another accused Tarique Rahman, BNP's senior vice-chairman, who has been living in London since 2008, in his absence during the hearing.

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