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Saturday, 21 June 2008

Former prime minister Sheikh Hasina MiG-29 Case

Staff Correspondent

A Dhaka Court on Thursday deferred charge framing proceedings against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the MiG-29 case to June 26.

Judge Golam Mortuza Mojumder, presiding over a special court set up on the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban premises, postponed the day's hearing following a request by the defence.

Defence counsels told the court they could not participate in the hearing without senior lawyer Shafique Ahmed, who was held up in the High Court.

On June 11, Syed Rezaur Rahman, lawyer for the accused former army chief Gen Mustafizur Rahman, asked the court to exempt his client from personal appearance in hearings.

The judge had set Thursday (June 19) to give his decision.

Advocate Sahara Khatun was present in the court Thursday on behalf of Sheikh Hasina, who is overseas at present seeking medical treatment.

Six other accused in the case, including Gen Mustafiz, were produced in court.

The now-defunct Bureau of Anticorruption filed the graft case, involving the controversial purchase of eight MiG-29 war planes, with Tejgaon police on Dec 11, 2001.

Seven people, including Sheikh Hasina, were accused in the case. It was alleged that during Hasina's tenure as prime minister, the state incurred huge losses amounting to about Tk 700 crore because of the purchase deal.

Hasina and other accused were charged on Jan 29, 2003, but the court proceedings remained halted for years as an appeal was pending with the High Court.

Other accused in the case are former air force chief Jamaluddin Ahmed, former defence secretary Syed Yusuf Hossain, former defence joint secretary Mohammad Hossain Sherniabat, retired air commodore Mirza Akhtar Maruf and Unique Group proprietor businessman Noor Ali.

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