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Khaleda Zia's son charged in $3 mn bribe case

world Updated: Jul 07, 2010 11:33 IST
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Bangladesh's anti-corruption watchdog on Wednesday charged former premier Khaleda Zia’s eldest son Rahman in a $3 million bribe case linked to a power plant contract inked during the 2001-2006 BNP-led government.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) submitted the chargesheet against 44-year-old Rahman, now living in Britain since his release from jail on bail in 2008, along with his controversial business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun for siphoning off the amount to a Singapore Bank, officials said on Wednesday.

The anti-graft watchdog alleged that they received the bribe in exchange for awarding of an 80-megawatt power plant contract to a private company during the 2001-2006 government led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

ACC filed the case in October 2009 and submitted the chargesheet after investigations today amid growing speculation that Rahman was "preparing grounds" for his return to the country.

It came a day after Rahman held a close-door meeting in London with party leaders.

Both Rahman and Mamun are facing at least 14 pending graft and criminal charges mainly lodged during the earlier interim government under emergency rules as part of a massive anti-graft campaign.

Rahman had obtained a bail from High Court on medical grounds after spending a year in jail.

Media reports have indicated that Rahman, was "preparing grounds" for his return home.

Rahman's relatively low-profile younger brother Arafat Rahman Koko too was accused of graft by ACC in November last year for allegedly siphoning off 2.9 million Singaporean dollars and nearly $1 million out of the country.

The ACC carried out the investigations against Koko, now living in Bangkok. The government teamed up with the authorities in the United States and Britain to recover an estimated $200 million stashed by him and several other high-profile suspects in Singapore banks.

Singaporean authorities earlier froze assets worth $1.6 million associated with a company Koko established in 2004.

Both Rahman and Koko were arrested under emergency rules during the interim government. They were released on bail for treatment abroad just ahead of the landmark December 29, 2008 general elections which brought to power Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League with three fourths majority.