B'desh ex-PM Hasina rejects graft accusations

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DHAKA, Oct 29 (Reuters) Bangladesh's detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina today rejected accusations of graft when quizzed by anti-corruption commission (ACC) officials, her lawyer said.

ACC officials asked Hasina several questions concerning one of the two cases filed against her in June for extorting 1.16 million dollars from two businessmen.

A lawyer appointed by Hasina was present during the interrogation at the special jail where she has been held since her arrest three months ago.

''The allegations are not true and I have no answer to these false allegations,'' Hasina's lawyer Taufique Newaz quoted her as telling the ACC officials.

Hasina, leader of the Awami League, was arrested on July 16 and sent to a house converted into a prison inside Dhaka's sprawling parliament compound.

Charges of extorting money from a businessman were formally filed against her a week later.

Her arch rival former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia is also being held at another makeshift jail, near Hasina's, since her arrest on September. 3 in a separate corruption case.

Bangladesh has been under a state of emergency imposed by the army-backed interim administration, which took over in January and launched a crackdown on corruption ahead of elections planned for late next year.

A spokesman for elite Rapid Action Battalion force told reporters on Monday that security forces had captured 12 Islamist militants and seized a cache of weapons in a series of overnight raids.

Those captured were wanted in connection with a grenade attack on a rally held by Hasina in Dhaka three years ago.


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