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Zia's elder son faces extortion case

world Updated: Sep 26, 2007 18:13 IST

Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Wednesday filed a case against former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's elder son Tareq, even as a Dhaka High Court bench provided relief for his younger brother Arafat Rahman Koko.

Tareq, accused of being behind many financial deals when his mother was the prime minister 2001-2006, has been in jail since March 7 on charges of extortion.

In the latest case, Tareq, a senior functionary of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has been charged with concealing information about his assets.

Also charged are his wife Zubaida Khan Rahman and mother-in-law Iqbal Mand Banu, Star Online reported.

Khaleda Zia herself was sent to jail on September 3.

As the law tightened its grip on Tareq, the high court ordered the National Board of Revenue to accept the tax of 3.9 million takas (approx $57,000) deposited by Zia's younger son Koko on his undisclosed income between 2002 and 2007.

The bench of Justices MA Rashid and Miftahuddin Chowdhury also asked the government and the revenue board to explain in four weeks why its refusal to accept the tax should not be declared illegal.

There is more trouble, however, for the family.

Five senior cabinet colleagues of Zia testified in a corruption case against her before the ACC on Tuesday.

Amidst media glare, an ailing former finance minister M Saifur Rahman arrived on a wheelchair.

Among those who came to depose was BNP's former secretary-general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, whom Zia expelled from the party minutes before she was taken to jail.

Former agriculture minister MK Anwar and former information minister M Shamsul Islam also testified before an investigation team on being summoned by the ACC.

The others to testify included Matiur Rahman Nizami, who heads Bangladesh's main Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami and was industries minister in the Zia cabinet.

All were members of the cabinet committee on purchase that approved the proposal to award the contract to what the authorities now term as "an incompetent and inexperienced firm, Global Agro Trade Company (GATCO)" to handle containers at the Inland Container Depot in Dhaka and Chittagong Port.