Court again defers proceedings against Hasina

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Dhaka, Mar 24 (UNI) A Dhaka court deferred to March 30 the proceedings of a graft case involving the setting up of three barge-mounted power plants against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Judge Md Feroz Alam of the Special Judges' Court-1 set up in the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban, yesterday also ordered the authorities to produce Hasina before the court on March 30.

Hasina was not produced before the court because of her reluctance, although the condition of her health was fine, the prison authorities said, The Independent reported today.

But Hasina's lawyer advocate Syed Rezaur Rahman said the Awami League president had been unable to appear in court because of her illness. The same court had earlier adjourned the hearing on March 17 for the same reason to March 23.

Hasina was admitted to Square Hospital on March 11. Specialist doctors have advised that she should be sent abroad for appropriate medical treatment. Among the other accused in the case, former power secretary Toufique-e-Elahi Chowdhury was present in court. The rest are on the run.

The Anticorruption Commission filed the case with Tejgaon police on September 2, 2007, naming eight people including Hasina.

The anti-graft body accused Hasina and the others of being variously involved in the exchange of Tk 3 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 Hasina of receiving a large part of the bribe money in the name of the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust during her term as prime minister.

UNI XC RJ RP KN1830

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