Court defers bribery hearing as Tarique pleads ill
Saturday, 21 June 2008

A Dhaka court on Thursday pushed back charge framing proceedings to June 25 in a bribery case linked to the murder of Bashundhara Group chairman Humayun Kabir Sabbir, reports

Judge Shahed Nuruddin adjourned proceedings following a request by lawyers of Khaleda Zia's detained elder son Tarique Rahman, who they said could not be present in court because of poor health.

Defence counsel barrister Rafiqul Islam Miah told the Special Judge's Court-9, set up on the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban premises, that his client was very ill.

He also asked the court to send Tarique abroad for better treatment, and halt trial proceedings until his recovery.

Prosecution lawyer Sheikh Golam Hafiz told the court the defence was making excuses to halt the trial by citing Tarique's illness.

There was scope to make arrangements for Tarique's medical treatment by exempting him from personal appearance, while the trial continued, the lawyer said.

"The trial should go ahead in a timely manner according to due judicial procedure, while the matter of sending him abroad should be decided by the executive branch of the state," the prosecution lawyer said.

He added that the prosecution did not have any problem with Tarique seeking medical treatment as required.

Tarique's lawyers were therefore needlessly attempting to delay the trial proceedings, Golam said.

On June 15, Tarique's lawyers made two separate requests for their client – to halt the trial proceedings and make arrangements for his proper treatment.

The judge set June 19 to give his decision on the matter. But the court on Thursday adjourned proceedings to June 25, without giving any decision.

Also accused in the bribery case, detained former home minister Lutfozzaman Babar and Bashundhara Group official Abu Sufian were both present in court Thursday.

The Anticorruption Commission pressed charges against BNP senior joint secretary general Tarique, and seven others, on May 6.

They stand accused of taking around Tk 21 crore in bribes to conceal the involvement of Safiat Sobhan Sanbeer, son of Basundhara Group chairman Shah Alam, in the murder of Humayun Kabir Sabbir.

Sabbir was killed on July 4, 2006. A case was filed three days later with Gulshan Police Station.

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