Fresh charges were pressed against Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia and 26 others in two arson cases that took place in Dhaka in February and March last year.
In both cases, Zia was named perpetrator of the crimes, even though her name was not mentioned in the First Information Reports (FIR) relating to the cases, the Daily Star reported.
The cases were filed on Sunday accusing a total of 27 leaders and activists of BNP-led 20-party alliance for arson attacks on passenger buses in February and March last year in the capital’s Darussalam and Gabtoli areas during the party’s non-stop anti-government movement.
Of the 27 accused, the charge sheet showed Khaleda and 19 others as fugitives as they did not secure bail in the cases. The investigation officers of the cases appealed to the court to issue arrest warrants for them.
In the first case on February 14, it was alleged that as per directives from Zia, a group of BNP leaders and activists set ablaze a minibus with a petrol bomb.
In the second case on March 3, it was alleged that on Zia’s instructions, some BNP-led 20-party combine activists set fire to a minibus at the bypass road of Darussalam.
Metropolitan Magistrate Imdadul Haque set May 31 and June 1 for the approval and signing of the charge sheets, court police official Mirash Uddin said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised justice for the victims of violence, saying that the BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami unleashed the violence in the name of protests to destabilise the country.
BNP leaders, on the other hand, have been alleging that the cases against Khaleda were aimed at keeping her away from politics.