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Khulna power plant hearing deferred to Feb 7 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 February 2008

Sheikh HasinaStaff Correspondent

A Dhaka court Sunday deferred the indictment proceedings until Feb 7 in a corruption case accusing Sheikh Hasina of illegally awarding contracts for three barge-mounted power plants.

Hasina appeared briefly in court Sunday morning in the case filed by the Anticorruption Commission.

The special court postponed the charge-framing proceedings after Hasina's lawyers appealed for deferment.

Special judge Azizul Haque had earlier transferred the case on Jan 28 to the Special Judges' Court-1 set up on the Sangsad Bhaban premises for trial.

"The indictment is supposed to be held [Sunday], but as we could not prepare for not receiving any documents, we will appeal to the court to defer the date,"

Hasina's lawyer Syed Rezaur Rahman told at the time.

According to case details, the accused took bribe of around Tk 3 crore in exchange for awarding contracts to two companies to set up three power plants at Haripur, Shikalbaha and Khulna.

Deputy director of the Anticorruption Commission SM Shabbir Khan filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station on Sept 2.

The other accused persons are former power secretary, Toufique-e-Elahi Chowdhury, former chairman of Power Development Board Nuruddin Mahmud Kamal, Summit Group directors Md Aziz Khan and Farid Khan, United Group directors Hasan Mahmud Raja and Abul Kalam Azad and curator of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum Syed Siddikur Rahman.

All of the accused have been shown fugitives except Hasina and Elahi. Hasina was shown arrested on Sep 19 last year while Elahi turned himself in to the court on Jan 16.

The ACC accused Hasina of receiving Tk 3 crore in bribes, through eight cheques and pay orders from Oct 24, 1996 to Nov 24, 1997, during her 1996-2001 term in office.

The case alleged that the former prime minister purchased 19 kathas of land including a two-storey building on road no 32, Dhanmondi in the name of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust on Oct 8, 1997.

The previous day, owners of Summit Group and United Group paid the landowner Tk 1.45 crore and Tk 55 lakh in cheques and pay order.

The police pressed charges on Jan 10 where the curator of the Bangabandhu Memorial Trust was made an accused.

On Oct 28, Hasina challenging in the High Court the legality of the case as it had been taken under the emergency powers rules.

The court on Nov 4 cleared the former prime minister of the charge and stayed all proceedings of the case.

The Supreme Court on Nov 26 halted the High Court order, clearing way for the case proceedings to continue to trial

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