“You will certainly get the copy of the verdict. But, when will you return Tk2.55 crore that you ‘embezzled’ from the orphanage trust?” Law Minister Anisul Huq asked the question, without mentioning BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s name.
He was addressing a discussion event styled “criminalization of politics, criminals and corruption free politics,” organized by Awami League Sub-committee on Legal Affairs in the Cirdap auditorium in Dhaka on Sunday.
On February 8, a Dhaka court sentenced former prime minister Khaleda Zia to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case filed for misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore that came as grants for orphans from a foreign bank in June 1991. The money was never spent for any orphanage.
Also Read - Graft case verdict sends Khaleda Zia to jail for 5 years
Khaleda denied misusing the international funds and claimed that the account of the trust tripled with accrued interest.
However, as the certified copy of the lower court verdict was not issued, even in the last 11 days, BNP alleged that the copy is not being delivered due to government interference.
The government is meddling in the court’s affairs to prolong Khaleda’s stay in jail, BNP leaders alleged.
About the verdict copy, Anisul said: “Time needed to issue the copy of a verdict depends actually on its size. As it is a 632-page verdict, a reasonable amount of time is needed to prepare and deliver the copy.
Also Read - BNP accuses government of creating ‘smokescreen’ over Khaleda’s verdict copy
“Only a death-row convict can demand the verdict’s copy on an emergency basis. But in all other cases, convicts must wait until their copies are ready.”
Among others, former justice Syed Amirul Islam, Prof Dr Anwar Hossain of Dhaka University, and writer and columnist Syed Abul Maksud joined the event presided over by Yusuf Hossain Mojumdar, chairman of Awami League Sub-committee on Legal Affairs.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com