Court frames charges against Khaleda

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Dhaka, Jul 1: A Dhaka court began formally framing charges against chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia, her son Arafat Rahman Coco and others in the Gatco graft case.

Public prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol yesterday read out 22 allegations brought against the former Prime Minister, in judge Shahed Nuruddin's special court, set up on the Sangsad Bhaban complex. The public prosecutor, acting for the Anticorruption Commission, told The Independent after the hearing, ''As a part of the charge framing proceedings, today we read out the 22 accusations brought against the accused along with the FIR filed in the case.'' ''The proceedings will continue on July 9,'' he added.

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was earlier taken to the court shortly after 1000 hrs (local time) from the nearby special jail.

Her son Coco, another accused in the case, did not appear in court yesterday after being exempted from personal appearance by the judge on medical grounds.

Of the other accused in the case, former ministers Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, M Shamsul Islam, MK Anwar, Motiur Rahman Nizami and others, were also present.

The ACC filed the case against Khaleda and 12 others on September 2 last year with Tejgaon Police Station. The ACC pressed charges on May 13 this year against some 25 people.

The name of former shipping minister Akbar Hossain, one of the original accused, was dropped from the chargesheet after his death.

Seven people accused in the case are still absconding.

The case was initially set for trial under metropolitan senior special judge Md Azizul Haque, but the case proceedings were later shifted to the special court on security grounds.


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