Sheikh Hasina's trial to begin on January 30
A Dhaka court has fixed the date for hearing an extortion case against the detained former premier after the Supreme Court cleared the decks for her trial.world Updated: Jan 27, 2008 17:25 IST
A Dhaka court on Sunday fixed January 30 for hearing an extortion case against detained former premier Sheikh Hasina after the Supreme Court cleared the decks for her trial by lifting a High Court stay early this week.
Metropolitan Sessions Judge M Azizul Haque posted the case for January 30 and January 31 at his makeshift court in parliament building complex where the Awami League leader is detained in a temporary jail since she was arrested in July under military-backed government's anti-graft drive.
The High Court had on January 17 stayed the trial after Hasina's counsels contended that the case should not proceed under emergency rules since the the incident had taken place between 1996-2000 when she was in office, years before the state of emergency was imposed.
Hasina was arrested after businessman Azam J Chowdhury alleged that she extorted Taka about three crore from him through her cousin former Health Minister Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim after threatening to cancel a power plant project.
Hasina has denied the charge and her party claimed the case was part of a conspiracy to prevent her from contesting elections.
Meanwhile, Chowdhury told reporters this that he did file the case "against Sheikh Hasina." He said Selim took the money from him in return for a deal and told him that he would get the deal done with the help of Hasina.
"I had not paid the money to Hasina. Nor did she demand it from me," he said.
Soon after assuming office in Jan last year, the interim government announced a massive anti-graft drive which has led to 52 high profile personalities, mostly politicians, being jailed, 21 of them for 10 years or more.