Court fixes Mar 8 to frame charges against Khaleda Zia in Niko case


Dhaka, Jan 18: A Dhaka court has fixed Mar 8 to hold an indictment hearing against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Niko corruption case.

Judge Sheikh Hafizur Rahman set the date on Tuesday at a temporary courtroom of the Dhaka Special Judge’s Court-9 at Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj.

Khaleda could not appear in court because of illness. Her lawyer subsequently requested the court adjourn the hearing. The court had previously fixed Jan 18 to hold the hearing, Khaleda’s lawyer Masud Ahmed Talukder said.

The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case on Dec 9, 2007, after the BNP chief was arrested by the military-backed caretaker government.

Charges were pressed against 11 people, including Khaleda, on May 5, 2008, for allegedly losing the state Tk 137 billion by awarding a gas exploration contract to Niko Resources, a Canadian oil and gas company.

Khaleda is already serving two prison sentences of 10 years and seven years in two corruption cases.

On Mar 25 last year, following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, the government suspended Khaleda’s jail term by executive order and released Khaleda for six months on the conditions that she would receive treatment at home and not travel abroad.

Later, the suspension of the prison term was extended by another six months.