Dhaka, Jan 13: A court in Bangladesh today formally framed charges against former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and fixed January 17 for commencement of the trial in an extortion case.
Ms Hasina, however, has standing in the dock pleaded ''not gulity.'' ''I am innocent,'' she told the court and termed the case ''malafide and concocted to tarnish my image and debar me from contesting the parliamentary elections scheduled to be held by December this year.'' Managing Director of the East Coast Trading Pvt Ltd, a local energy company, Azam J Chowdhury filed the case on June 13 last year.
Ms Hasina was arrested on July 16 last year in connection with the case at the height of a crackdown on politicians by the incumbent military backed caretaker government.
Another former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was also arrested on September 3 last year in connection with another corruption case.
The caretaker government led by Chief Advisor Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed launched war on corrupt politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats to clean the domestic politics. Around 200 high profile former ministers and Members of Parliament (MPs) were arrested during the current anti-corruption drive.