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Khaleda Zia has joked about the eagerness of Mosharraf Hossain Kazol, the lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Commission or ACC, to finish the BNP chief’s trial in the third case started by the commission against her. - A home for your website

Khaleda was produced before the court set up inside the old jailhouse on the Nazimuddin Road in Dhaka on Wednesday for the hearing of the Niko graft case.

She has been the lone prisoner in the abandoned jail for over 10 months after being sentenced to up to 10 years for corruption in Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust.

The former prime minister complained about the condition of the temporary courtroom of the Ninth Special Judges Court of Dhaka set up inside the jail for her trial.

She expressed unhappiness about the close presence of police around her during the hearing in the court and questioned the authorities “intention to speed up the trial”.

“Many other sensational and important cases dont see speedy trial,” she said, referring to the Narayanganj seven-murder case.
She also said a level playing field for the upcoming general election cannot be created with her in jail and the BNP leaders and activists busy fighting cases.
ACC lawyer Kazol then said they came to the court for hearing, not for something related to the election.

Masud Ahmed Talukder, one of the lawyers for Khaleda, said at one stage, “The Awami League will reward him (Kazol) with a state ministers post for conducting this case.”

“No, he will be made a full minister,” Khaleda quipped.

Kazol then sought the former prime ministers blessings. “Madam, please pray for me,” he said.

Following the defence plea seeking time for the hearing of the case, judge Mahmudul Kabir set Jan 3 to finish hearing arguments of senior BNP leader and former minister Moudud Ahmed.

The judge said he would also hear defence arguments on charge-framing.

The ACC started the case during the military-controlled government in 2007 accusing Khaleda, Moudud and nine others of causing a loss of around Tk 137.77 billion by abusing power to award a gas exploration and extraction deal to Canadian company Niko during her 2001-06 tenure as the prime minister.