3 Bangladeshi ex-ministers sent to jail in coal mine corruption case

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Dhaka, Nov 10 (UNI) A special court today sent three former ministers including Saifur Rahman, a senior leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), to Dhaka Central Jail after rejecting their bails in a coal mine corruption case.

Two other accused were former industries minister and chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, and ex-social welfare minister and Jamaat secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujaheed.

All the three charge sheeted accused surrendered to the court set up in the highly secured parliament building complex but the Judge A K Roy rejected their bail prayers.

Barrister Abdur Razzak, counsel for the accused petitioners prayed for three days' time on the plea that quashing petitions against the case were pending with the High Court. He argued that other charge sheeted accused in the case were now on bail.

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kazal strongly opposed the bail petition.

Hearing both sides, the court said there is no scope for granting bail to the charge sheeted accused as emergency power rules are in force. The Judge ordered to send them to jail and fixed November 12 for the next hearing on the case.

The ACC filed the case on February 26 this year accusing former prime minister Khaleda Zia and nine of her former cabinet colleagues of causing a loss of 159 crore Tk to the state exchequer by awarding a contract for operating Barapukuria coal mine to a Chinese company through abuse of power.

Principal accused BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia secured bail from the High Court. The High Court also stayed further case proceedings against her in this case.

On October 5, the ACC submitted chargesheet against Khaleda, her 10 other former cabinet colleagues and five bureaucrats under the ongoing purge launched following the January 11, 2007 changeover.


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