The High Court on Monday granted bail for four months to opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson Khaleda Zia, jailed for five years in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case 33 days ago on February 8.
The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Shahidul Karim also asked the Supreme Court registrar general to prepare the paper-book of the Special Judge’s Court records in the case in four months.
The bench said that the government and the Anti-Corruption Commission would be at liberty to seek hearing in Khaleda’s appeal against the trial court verdict when it was ready with the preparation of the paper-book.
Attorney general Mahbubey Alam told reporters that the government would file petition to the Appellate Division judge in chamber today for staying the bail.
He said that the government would ask the jail authorities not to release Khaleda till the disposal of the petition.
Khaleda’s lawyer Moudud Ahmed, however, said that there would be no legal bar to the release of
Khaleda when her bail bond would reach the jail on completion of some procedures.
Jurist Kamal Hossain in a statement said that former prime minister Khaleda Zia was granted bail by the High Court and this should happen in a regular process in such a case although it took several days in this case to get the order.
An independent judiciary applies law impartially in the rule of law, he said, adding that all should realise the importance of the independence of judiciary. The jailor of the Dhaka Central Jail, Mahabubul Islam Milon said that they received two warrants in the afternoon for the production of Khaleda before two courts –– the Comilla District and Sessions Judge’s Court on March 28 in the Chauddagram arson attack case and the Dhaka Special Judge’s Court-9 on April 19 in a NIKO graft case filed with Tejgaon police station in 2007.
Prison officials said that they could not release Khaleda before the withdrawal of the production warrants by the courts.
A high officer at Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrates’ Court said that the court had earlier sent to two warrants against Khaleda in two cases filed with Gulshan police station.
He said that the Gulshan police could now submit petitions in the court seeking warrants for the production of Kahleda as she was in jail.
The High Court granted the bail on four grounds –– Khaleda was given shortest sentence, the hearing of her appeal against the sentence would take time, she never misused bail during the trial and the 73-year woman was suffering from various physical complications, a fact contradicted by neither the government nor the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The bench had kept the order in Khaleda’s petition for bail pending for 16 days saying that it needed the case records from the Dhaka Special Judge Court-5 that pronounced the verdict on February 8.
The bench, however, did not go through the 5,328-page records sent by the trial court on Sunday.
Several hundred BNP leaders and activists waiting outside the courtroom chanted slogan after the bench pronounced the order at 2:30pm.
Supreme Court Bar Association president Zainul Abedin, who was in the jam-packed courtroom with senior lawyers, calmed the party activists.
On February 22, the High Court bench accepted for hearing the appeal Khaleda filed on February 20 against her sentence and stayed the realisation of her fine.
On February 25, the bench concluded the hearing in her bail petition but kept its order pending until getting the case records from the trial court.
It called for the records on February 22.
The former prime minister filed the appeal after getting the certified copy of the verdict, which jailed her for five years and her eldest son Tarique Rahman and four others for 10 years, on February 19.
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