Sixteen high profile politicians and businessmen, who were detained on graft charges under the massive anti-corruption drive in emergency-ruled Bangladesh have been granted interim bail by a High Court in Dhaka.
Two separate benches of the court granted bail for an intervening period to the mayor of southeastern port city Chittagong and 15 others, including several ex-ministers and lawmakers, as they challenged the charges filed by government and the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC), court sources said.
The two benches also issued identical orders demanding government's explanation on why the petitioners should not be granted regular bail, and why the trial proceedings against them should not be quashed.
The mayor of Chittagong, Mohiuddin Ahmed Chowdhury, also a senior leader of Sheikh Hasina's Awami League, was granted three months of interim bail on a writ petition against a case filed by ACC accusing him of amassing illegal wealth and concealing information in his wealth statement.
A leading businessman and former president of apex Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries Slaman F Rahman was also granted bail for three months in a corruption case.
Nearly 200 high profile people, mostly politicians were detained as part of the anti-graft campaign since installation of the current government with military support after January 11, 2007 proclamation of the state of emergency.