Dhaka – Bangladesh Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by former prime minister Khaleda Zia to stop proceedings of a graft case filed 10 years against her over awarding two contracts for inland container depots in Dhaka and Chittagong, officials said.
With the dismissal of the leave to appeal petition against a High Court decision, Khaleda, the chief of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party, has to face the trial court in the case, lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said.
A four-member panel of judges of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha dismissed the petition.
Earlier in August last year the High Court dismissed her petition seeking scrapping of the trial proceedings and asked Khaleda to surrender before the trial court.
Accordingly she surrendered and secured bail in the case filed in September 2007 when Bangladesh was being run by a military-backed government.
Khaleda and 12 others were accused of causing loss of over 145 million taka to the public exchequer by awarding two contracts to Global Agro Trade Company Limited, a private firm, for handling container at inland depots in Dhaka and Chittagong during her 2001-2006 tenure.
The Anti-Corruption commission filed the case. Khaleda Zia was arrested a day after the case was filed in 2007 as the case was included under the Emergency Act as Bangladesh was under an emergency at that time. She then challenged the case with the High Court, and the proceedings were initially stalled.
After investigation, police pressed charges against on May 13, 2008.
In 2008, Khaleda filed another petition challenging the legality of the case filed under the ACC Act, following which the High Court once again stayed the case proceedings.
The case is now pending before Dhaka Special Judges Court-3 in charge framing stage.
The former prime minister, who is now in London, has been accused in few other graft cases.