SC upholds HC stay order
Thursday, 29 May 2008

Zobaida case proceedings

The Supreme Court upheld a 2-month High Court stay order Wednesday on proceedings involving graft charges against Tarique Rahman's wife Zobaida Rahman, and her mother, for allegedly assisting Tarique in amassing illegal wealth.

Rejecting a leave to appeal filed by the Anticorruption Commission against the stay order, a six-member Appellate Division bench headed by the Chief Justice also asked the caretaker government to explain within two weeks why the case should not be cancelled.

A High Court bench gave the stay order on Apr 8 following a petition submitted by Zobaida to the court to have the case quashed.

The Appellate Division also adjourned a separate hearing Wednesday on a leave to appeal filed by the ACC against the HC's stay order on proceedings against Tarique Rahman in the same case till June 4. The court halted the proceedings against Tarique Rahman in this case on Oct 1.

Zobaida and her mother Syeda Iqbal Mand Banu are implicated in the case for allegedly aiding her husband in his illegal earnings and also received two fixed deposits from her husband in this connection worth Tk 35 lakh.

The ACC's lawyer Anisul Haque told the Appeallate Division bench that the commission filed the case against Zobaida for abetting her husband Tarique in amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income, and this falls under the purview of the trial court to prove or disprove the charges.

He added that because Zobaida is absconding, the High Court cannot at this stage accept a plea for quashing the case.

Zobaida's counsel Khandaker Mahbubuddin Ahmed argued that Zobaida's family is a reputed one, and owns assets worth hundreds of crores of taka.

The Tk 35 lakh fixed deposit receipts in her name were gifts from her mother, who had accumulated the amount by collecting house-rent, and the amount had been explained in Syeda Iqbal Mand Banu's 2006 income tax return, the lawyer said.

Khandaker also clarified that Zobaida was not absconding as she filed her plea for quashing the case against her with the High Court in person.

The Anticorruption Commission filed the case on Sept 26 last year with Kafrul Police Station against Khaleda Zia's elder son Tarique, his wife and mother-in-law.

Tarique is accused of amassing wealth worth Tk 4.81 crore beyond his known sources of income and concealing wealth-related information from the ACC.

The ACC pressed charges against the three on Mar 31.

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