‘I’m being harassed in the name of trial’: Khaleda tells court

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Dhaka, Oct 19 (UNB) – Terming the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case totally a ‘false, baseless and motivated one’, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Thursday said she has long been subjected to harassment and sufferings in the name of trial of the case filed against her.While giving her self-defence statement in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case before the makeshift court of Special Judge-5 at Bakshibazar, the BNP chief also claimed not a single taka of the trust was neither misused nor embezzled.

Khaleda also said she considers herself as an ordinary person, but she has devoted her limited power, ability, merits and knowledge to the cause of the country its people and their welfare.

“All the allegations brought in the case are quite imaginary and totally fabricated ones. These allegations are also filled with self-contradictory statements… My normal life, political and organisational activities are being hampered due to the case,” the BNP chief said.

Khaleda claimed though she has no involvement in the finance and administration of the trust, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case against her beyond its ‘legal authority and jurisdiction’.

She criticised the government for holding the trial proceedings of the case setting up a makeshift court on the playground of Government Alia Madrasah where erstwhile BDR members, accused of mutiny, rape and killing, were tried.  “The main motive of the ruling party behind it is to humiliate and belittle me in public during the trial proceedings.” 

Khaleda further said, “It’s also one kind of interference in the trial proceedings. This move has created a serious doubt in public mind about getting justice. Through it, I’ve been badly harassed and defamed during the trial. To whom should I seek its redress?  Where’ll I get its remedy?

The BNP chief alleged that the ruling party is constantly making its evil efforts while its leaders are making unguarded remarks on the ‘sub-judice’ matter to influence the trial of the case in many ways.

Referring to media reports, Khaleda said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a public meeting at Suhrawardy Udyan on January 10 this year accused her of embezzling orphans’ money and said she is not appearing before court regularly as a guilty mind is always suspicious.  “What response should I give to the Prime Minister’s such defamatory and indecent remarks on an under trial case?

She claimed that the money came from abroad as donation to the Zia Orphanage Trust and it was spent on its welfare while the rest of the money has been deposited with the bank.

“Every penny is there in the bank.  Not a single taka has neither been misused nor embezzled. There’s no question of misappropriating any money of it. Under the circumstances, how did the Prime Minister make the defamatory and offensive comment like embezzling orphans’ money? Does she have the jurisdiction to make comment on a sub-judice matter? Isn’t it violation of law and interference in the trial process?” Khaleda questioned.

She said the ruling party leaders have long been making reckless comments on the under trial case and even dictating what will be the verdict of it. “Serious doubt and lack of confidence have been created in public mind and also of us over having justice as there’s no effort to stop such an unlawful campaign.”

The BNP chief, however, said she wants to believe the court will function as per the law.

Earlier, the special court, which had issued the warrants for Khaleda’s arrest, granted her bail upon Tk 1 lakh bond each in Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases.

A day after returning home from the UK, Khaleda surrendered before the makeshift around 11am today.

On July 3, 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda Zia, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, and four others for misappropriating over Tk 21.0 million (2.10 crore) that came as grants from a foreign bank for orphans.

On August 8, 2011, the commission filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing four people, including Khaleda Zia, of abuse of power in raising funds for the trust from unknown sources.

Source: UNB