Court defers cross-exam in Hasina extortion case
Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Sheikh Hasina.Staff Correspondent

A Dhaka court on Tuesday deferred again the plaintiff's cross-examination in a Tk 3 crore extortion case against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Considering the time petition submitted by the prosecution lawyers, Md Ashraf Hossain of the Special Judge's Court- 5, set up in the Sangsad Bhaban complex, set September 1 for the cross-examination of the plaintiff.
 
The prosecution lawyers mentioned in their time petition that the plaintiff, Azam J Chowdhury, in the case failed to appear in the court Tuesday morning as other business kept him away.
 
Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, another accused in the case and Hasina's cousin, was present in the court though.
 
Trial of the extortion case resumed on Aug 18, after cancellation of the case by the High Court and its restoration by the Appellate Division on a government appeal.
 
Chowdhury continued with his statement to the court, after a break of over sixth months, before defence lawyers began cross-examining him in the makeshift court.
 
The case filed on June 13, 2007 accuses Hasina of extorting Tk 2.99 crore during her 1996-2001 stint as prime minister in return for allowing the plaintiff to set up a power plant.
 
The Awami League chief's sister Sheikh Rehana and former health minister Sheikh Selim also stand accused in the case.
 
Hasina was arrested at her Dhanmondi home on July 16, 2007, named arrested in the case the following day and detained pending trial.
 
The High Court on Feb 6 cancelled the case after ruling illegal its trial under emergency powers rules.
 
On May 8, on a government appeal, the Supreme Court overturned the High Court cancellation, allowing its trial to resume.
 
On June 11 this year, Hasina was released by the government for eight weeks to seek medical treatment abroad. She left for the United States the next day, after being excused on medical grounds from personal appearance in court proceedings against her.

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