Hasina hearing adjourned till Mar 23

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Dhaka, Mar 18: Former Bangladesh prime minister and Awami League president Sheikh Hasina's case has been adjourned by a Dhaka court till March 23, involving illegal contracts for setting up three barge-mounted power plants in Khulna, Shikalbaha and Haripur.

Judge Mohammad Firoz Alam of Special Judge's Court-1, set up on the Sangsad Bhaban premises, yesterday fixed March 23 as the next date of hearing as Ms Hasina was unable to appear in the court, the Independent reported. Hasina was admitted to Square Hospital on March 11. Specialist doctors have advised that she should be sent abroad for appropriate medical treatment.

The court had previously adjourned the hearing for the same reason on March 13 to March 17. Other accused in the, case, among others, is former power secretary Toufique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, who was present in the court.

The former prime minister was produced before the court on March 9, when her defence lawyers first appealed for postponement of proceedings taking Hasina's medical condition into consideration.

The Anticorruption Commission filed the case with Tejgaon police on September 2, 2007 naming eight, people including Ms Hasina. The anti-graft body accused Ms Hasina and the others of being involved in the exchange of Takka three crore in bribes from Wartsila Power Development Limited Consortium's local representative and Summit Group and United Group representatives, for awarding contracts to set up three barge-mounted power plants in Khulna, Shikalbaha and Haripur.

The ACC also accused Ms Hasina of receiving a large part of the bribe money in the name of the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust during her term as prime minister. Others accused in the case are former chairman of the Power Development Board Nooruddin Mahmud Kamal, Summit Group directors Mahmud Aziz Khan and Farid Khan, United Group directors Hasan Mahmud Raja and Abul Kalam Azad, and curator of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum Syed Siddiqur Rahman, all of whom are presently fugitive.


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