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Khaleda gets interim bail for 4 months; shown arrested in another case
Hours after getting a four-month interim bail from the High Court (HC) in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was shown arrested in a Comilla arson attack case, keeping her release from jail uncertain.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim granted bail to Khaleda in response to a petition moved by her in the case she was sent jail last month after being convicted by a special court here.
The apex court gave the BNP chief bail on four grounds -- her jail term is not more than five years, health condition, she did not misuse bail in the past and preparations for an appeal are not yet completed.
The bench asked the authorities concerned of the HC for preparing the paperbook (documents related to the case) of the case within four months for hearing the appeal she filed against her conviction in the case.
Meanwhile, Attorney General MahbubeyAlam said, “We’ll go to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for filing a petition against the HC order. Already, we’ve started our work in this regard.”
Khaleda’s counsel Kaisar Kamal said, “Now, there’s no legal bar to Khaleda Zia’s release following the HC order and we hope the documents related to the case order will reach the jail on Tuesday.”
The HC was scheduled to pass an order on her petition on Sunday but deferred it as the documents relating to the lower court verdict in the graft case did not reach the department concerned of the HC in time.
However, the documents later reached the department concerned of the High Court on Sunday.
On February 22, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia filed the petition with the High Court seeking bail in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
On February 8, the Dhaka Special Court-5 convicted the former prime minister and BNP chairperson and sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. She was then sent to old central jail at Nazimuddin Road in the city.
The court read out a 632-page summarised version of the verdict on that day and it released the full 1174-page copy of the verdict on February 19.
Meanwhile, BNP said it is partly happy over the High Court order granting bail to its chairperson in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. “We’re partly happy as she was granted bail. We’ll be fully happy when she’ll get back to her residence walking out of jail gate,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
In an instant reaction over Khaleda’s bail order, Law Minister Anisul Huq said the order of the High Court has proved that the government does not interfere in the judicial procedure.
“The BNP leaders in separate programmes alleged that we’re interfering in judicial activities and that’s why Khaleda Zia didn’t get bail. But today’s order proved that judiciary is independent and the government has no involvement in it,” said Anisul while talking to reporters at the secretariat.
Asking what could be the next steps, Anisul said, “I’ve no idea about the number of cases filed against the BNP Chairperson. According to the procedure, an advance order of certified copy or the certified copy of the verdict will be sent to the High Court and the BNP chairperson would not be released until it reaches the court.”
Later, in the afternoon, a Comilla court showed Khaleda in a case filed over the 2015 arson attack on a bus in Chouddagram upazila that left eight people dead.
The court also asked police to produce her before it on March 28 next.
The court passed the order following a petition filed by officer-in-charge of Gulshan Police Station Abu Bakr Siddique, said Subrata Banarjee, inspector of Comilla court police.
On February 25 last, a court here ordered police to execute the warrant for the arrest of the BNP chief and 48 other BNP leaders and activists by April 24 in the case.
As the warrant for the arrest of Khaleda was sent to Gulshan Police Station in the capital, its OC filed a petition with the court seeking its order to show her arrested in the case.
Eight people were killed and at least 20 others injured when miscreants hurled a petrol bomb at a bus at Jogmohanpur in Chouddagram during the BNP-led alliance's movement on February 3, 2015.
Two cases -- one under the Explosive Substances Act and another for murder -- were filed over the incident.
October 9, 2017 last, a Comilla court ordered the arrest of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and 45 other leaders and activists of her party in the case filed under the Explosive Substances Act over the arson attack.