Hasina questions submission of intelligence report in court
Tuesday, 03 June 2008

AL Chief Sheikh HasinaBdnews24.com

Detained former prime minister Sheikh Hasina Monday raised questions over an intelligence agency's report which was produced in court and made public.

Public prosecutor ABM Sharfuddin Khan Mukul took part in a hearing on charge-framing against Hasina in the MiG-29 graft case and presented a military intelligence report before the court.

"It should be questioned whether the report prepared by an intelligence agency can be produced before the court and made public in this manner. As a former head of government, I may very well raise the matter for legal clarification," Hasina told the court.

The prosecution lawyer read out the report in court and said: "This report clearly says the expensive MiG-29 warplanes were not a must for our air force, and poor countries such as Bangladesh just cannot bear a huge maintenance spending for them."

"The Awami League government at that time purchased the high-end MiG-29 warplanes, costing the state coffers hundreds of crores in losses," he said.

Taking permission from the judge, Hasina told the court: "We purchased the MiG-29 fighters to enhance our ability to foil any invasion."

"Now if the public prosecutor questions the purchase of an essential instrument of national safeguard, we all should be worried about our sovereignty and this should be kept on record for future reference."

Earlier, the hearing on charge-framing was conducted in a special courtroom set up on the Jatiya Sangsad complex in the presence of Judge Golam Mortuza Majumdar of Dhaka Divisional Special Judge's Court.

The defence lawyers will take part in the next hearing on June 11.

Government prosecutor ABM Sharfuddin Khan Mukul took part in the hearing around 10:30am and presented his prosecution arguments against the accused until 12:15pm.

A lawyer for former army chief Mustafizur Rahman, another accused in the case, has appealed to the court for granting a permanent bail for his client and sending him abroad for treatment. The court hasn't issued any order.

Hasina was produced in the court at 9:55 am.

The now-defunct Bureau of Anticorruption filed the case with Tejgaon Police Station in 2001 against seven people.

Hasina, during her term as prime minister, cost the state Tk 700 crore in losses by purchasing eight MiG-29 war planes, according to case details.

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