Dhaka, Feb 8 (UNB) – Amid heightening tensions and various speculations, a special court here on Thursday convicted former prime minister and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the much-talked-about Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Five other accused, including her son and BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each. The court also fined the five accused Tk 2.10 crore each.
After Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, Khaleda is the second head of the government who got convicted in a graft case.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the special court-5 handed down the verdict in the sensational case in his crowded courtroom at 2:30 pm.
The judge started reading out the summary of the 632-page verdict in presence of Khaleda Zia at 2:12 pm.
Earlier on January 25, Judge Akhtaruzzaman fixed the date for announcing the verdict after the defence had closed their arguments in the case.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on July 3, 2008 with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, now living in the UK, and four others of misappropriating over 2.10 crore that came as grants from a foreign bank for orphans.
Four other accused are former BNP MP Salimul Haq Kamal and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, former principal secretary Kamal Uddin Siddique and Mominur Rahman, nephew of late President Ziaur Rahman.
Kamal Uddin Siddique and Mominur Rahman have long been absconding.
Meanwhile, Khaleda Zia was taken to Old Dhaka central jail from Special Court-5 at Bakshibazar.
Khaleda left the court in a white car around 3pm and reached the jail gate around 3:13 pm.