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Khaleda Zia surrenders in court, gets bail in graft cases

40BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has secured bail in two corruption cases after surrendering in a Dhaka court.

She left her Gulshan office after three months and went to the court at Bakshibazar on Sunday।

Dhaka’s Third Special Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar granted her bail in ‘Zia Charitable Trust’ and ‘Zia Orphanage Trust’ graft cases over an alleged embezzlement of more than Tk 50 million.

Two other accused — former Magura MP Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed — were also granted bail.

The court on Feb 25 scrapped Khaleda’s bail after she skipped several hearings and upheld the decision on Mar 4.

At Sunday’s hearing, Khaleda’s lawyers said the BNP chief had appeared before the court as she was “law-abiding”.

Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar promptly said he, too, respected the law.

“I wouldn’t have issued arrest warrant but I was forced to.

“I agree with the state counsel’s argument that the trial cannot progress without issuing an arrest warrant.”

The next hearing will take place on May 5.

Defence lawyers said they told the court that Khaleda’s absence was “unintentional”.

It was mainly due to “security reasons” and because of her son Arafat Rahman’s Coco’s death, her lawyer Mahbubuddin Khokon explained to reporters outside the court minutes after Khaleda left.

The former prime minister has been staying at her Gulshan office since Jan 3 when police stopped her from leaving.

Her party has been enforcing a violent transport blockade and shutdowns that have claimed more than 130 lives.

BNP’s lawyers had been citing ‘security reasons’ for her skipping court appearances.

On Sunday, security was tightened around the court to avoid any untoward incident.

The last time she went there for a hearing, her supporters clashed with ruling Awami League activists.

Her party leaders said she would return to her Gulshan residence if she was granted bail.