Former Bangla PM gets bail in graft case

Former Bangla PM gets bail in graft case
Updated 01 December 2015

Former Bangla PM gets bail in graft case

Former Bangla PM gets bail in graft case

DHAKA: Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was granted bail on Monday after appearing in court over a nearly two-billion-dollar graft case dating back to 2007 and involving a Canadian resources company.
The 70-year-old main opposition leader was ordered to appear in the heavily guarded Dhaka Judge Court after her lawyers had spent years arguing in vain to have the case thrown out.
“The court granted her bail and ordered the next hearing of the case on Dec. 28,” public prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain told AFP.
Zia is accused of signing a gas exploration contract with Niko Resources Limited when she was prime minister without due process, causing 137.77 billion taka ($1.78 billion) in losses to the government.
The country’s anti-corruption watchdog filed the case in 2007 against Zia, chief of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). She argues the case stems from a period of emergency rule and is therefore no longer valid.
But a new bench of High Court judges ordered Zia to surrender to the court or face arrest after her return earlier in November from London, where she was receiving medical treatment and visiting her son.
A beleaguered Zia is facing a series of other graft cases including two involving her assassinated husband’s charities.
The two-times former premier has argued that all of the cases are politically motivated and aimed at keeping her out of politics.
The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her arch-rival, has launched a major crackdown on the BNP, arresting hundreds of activists, after deadly violence rocked the country this year.
Zia was prime minister from 1991-1996 and 2001-2006.