A Dhaka court today (Sunday) exempted BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia from appearing before it in-person in the Gatco graft case.
Judge Muhammad Ali Hossain of Special Judge Court-3 of Dhaka issued the order after Khaleda’s lawyer Zainal Abedin Meshbah submitted a petition seeking an exemption from appearing his client in-person at the court.
In the petition, the lawyer said Khaleda Zia, now out of jail following an executive order from the government, is sick and not in a position to move. So, she should be her exempted from appearing at the court in-person, the lawyer added.
The lawyer also submitted another petition seeking an adjournment of the charge framing hearing on grounds that they were yet to see some documents seized by the investigation officer during the investigation.
ACC public prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol, however, opposed the defence petitions.
Upon hearing both sides, the judge granted both the petitions.
The judge also fixed March 13 for next hearing of the case.
With this, the judge adjourned the hearing for 37 times on different reasons.
Four BNP leaders, including Khondaker Mosharraf Hossain, now on bail, were present at the court.
Others accused were absent and their lawyers submitted time petitions for their non-appearance before the court on Sunday.
On September 2, 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station against Khaleda and several others on charges of misappropriating around Tk 1,000 crore while dealing with Global Agro Trade (Pvt) Company Ltd (Gatco).
On May 13, 2008, the anti-graft body pressed charges against the former premier and 23 others.
Meanwhile, names of eight other accused, including Khaleda’s younger son Arafat Rahman Koko, were dropped from the charge sheet following their deaths on different dates.