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Court indicts ex-PM Hasina for graft PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 May 2008

Former prime minister Sheikh Hasina Power Plant Case

REUTERS, DHAKA - A court in Bangladesh formally indicted detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday for graft over a power plant deal.

The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the charges with the court in February, accusing Hasina of accepting 30 million taka ($440,000) in kickbacks in a power plant deal during her term in office between 1996-2001.

Hasina was in the dock when the judge passed the order for prosecution.

"This is a false charge and politically motivated. It was filed only to destroy my political career," Hasina told the court.

If proved, she may be imprisoned for up to seven years, which would also rule her out of contesting national polls due in December, lawyers said.

Hasina is also being prosecuted by a separate court for allegedly extorting more than $400,000 from a businessman when she was in power.

She denies any wrongdoing.

Another detained former prime minister, Begum Khaleda Zia, was also charged recently in connection with a deal allowing a local firm to operate at the country's main Chittagong port.

Separately a judge's court sent Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, a former minister in Khaleda's government, to jail after he surrendered to the court.

Bhiuyan, a senior leader of a breakaway faction of Khaleda's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was wanted along with five other former ministers in a graft case.

They include Moulana Matiur Rahman Nizami, a former industry minister and head of Bangladesh's biggest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami. Jamaat was a coalition partner in Khaleda's government.

More than 170 key political figures have been detained by the army-backed interim authority since it took charge in January last year following months of political violence.

Nearly 50 of them have been jailed.

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