A Dhaka court has sentenced BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman to nine years rigorous imprisonment and his wife Zubaida Rahman to three years rigorous jail in a graft case.
Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Md Asaduzzaman passed the verdict on Wednesday afternoon. The court also fined Tarique Tk 3 crore, in default, has to serve three months more in jail while Zubaida was fined Tk 35 lakh, or to serve one month more in jail.
On July 27, the prosecution completed arguments and sought highest punishment for the couple.
Earlier, the court recorded statements of 42 out of 56 prosecution witnesses, including complainant of the case.
On April 13, 2013, the court framed charges against the two fugitives accused as it scrapped a petition to allow them to appoint lawyers to defend them in absentia.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on September 26, 2007, filed the case against Tarique Rahman, his wife Zubaida Rahman and mother-in-law Iqbal-Mand Banu pn charges of amassing an illegal wealth of Tk 4.81 crore and concealing information about the asset.
After probe, the investigation officer submitted a charge sheet against the three on March 31, 2009. However, trial proceedings against Zubaida’s mother were cancelled due to her death.
Zubaida in 2008 filed a petition with the High Court, pleading to quash the proceedings of the case. The High Court in the same year stayed the proceedings of the case, which was later upheld by the Appellate Division.
The High Court after holding the final hearing on the matter, cancelled the plea of Zubaida on April 12, 2017. It had also asked her to appear before the trial court concerned within eight weeks. Zubaida later filed a leave to appeal petition against the High Court order.
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on April 13, 2022, scrapped Zubaida’s leave to appeal petition and upheld the High Court order.
On November 1, 2022, the lower court concerned issued arrest warrants against the couple after accepting the charges pressed against them. On February 6, 2023, the court issued a gazette asking the couple to appear before the court.
Earlier, Tarique has been sentenced to life term imprisonment in the August 21 grenade attack cases. He was also sentenced in two other cases, including the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Several other cases are also pending against the BNP leader.
Meanwhile, it is the first case against his wife Zubaida Rahman, said BNP-backed lawyers.
Centring the verdict, security has been beefed up near the court since morning.