GATCO graft

Khaleda gets angry over her seat amid trial hearing

25 January 2019

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has complained about a seat assigned for her in court during a hearing of the GATCO graft case.
On Thursday, she said she could not see the judge from her seat behind a clerk: "I'm not staying here. I will leave this place."
The former prime minister, already jailed for graft in two other cases, returned  to the courtroom after being absent "due to a foot rash".
A special court set up inside the old jailhouse on Nazimuddin Road in Dhaka is hearing the NIKO graft case against Khaleda.
The GATCO graft case hearings are being held at the Third Special Judge's Court of Dhaka at Bakshibazar.
The hearing on charge-framing was scheduled for Thursday.
Judge Abu Syed Diljar Hussain adjourned the hearing until Feb 7 following a petition by the defendants seeking case dossier.
Khaleda entered the courtroom after 12:30pm on a wheelchair. She was given a seat in a place covered by a wall behind a bench clerk.
"The wall was not here before," Khaleda said, her voice straining with anger.
"I can't see you from here. Do you want to put me in the dock? I am ready for that," she told the judge.
Among the lawyers for Khaleda, AJ Mohammad Ali, Masud Ahmed Talukder and Aminul Islam were present.
"Why are you separating her? Make a decision and bring her to the fore. There is no scope to separate her," Mohammad Ali told Judge Diljar.
Mosharraf Hossain Kazol, the ACC lawyer, pointed out that Khaleda was given the seat keeping her issue of her security in mind.
Judge Diljar said he was new in the court and would look into the issue later.
The hearing was deferred on Jan 16 when Khaleda did not appear in the hearing for charge-framing "due to the foot rash".
The ACC prosecuted Khaleda and 12 others over the alleged GATCO crorruption at Tejgaon Police Station on Sept 2, 2007 when a military-installed caretaker government was in power.
The following day, Khaleda and her younger son Arafat Rahman Coco were arrested in their Dhaka Cantonment home.
That same year, the case was brought under the Emergency Rule Act.
Khaleda is accused in the case of causing the state exchequer Tk 145.63 million in losses by her decision to award to GATCO a container-handling job at Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Dhaka and at the Chittagong Port.
After investigation, ACC Deputy Director Md Zahirul Huda pressed charges in court against 24 suspects, including nine former ministers and deputy ministers, on May 13, 2008.  
The death of Coco, former ministers M Saifur Rahman, Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, and hanging of former minister Motiur Rahman Nizami for war crimes has brought the number of accused down to 20.

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