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Bangladesh SC grants bail to ex-PM Khaleda Zia in corruption case

Bangladesh SC grants bail to ex-PM Khaleda Zia in corruption case

Dhaka: Bangladesh's former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia was on Wednesday granted bail by the country's Supreme Court in a graft case, according to a media report.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, the Attorney General appealed to the court for holding more arguments in the case.

When the judges sat in the bench around 9:50am for delivering the judgment, the attorney general told the court that he wanted to place some more arguments.

However, Mohammad Ali apologised to the court and said: "The court can react, but the court does not allow us (lawyers) to react". "As the Appellate Division upheld the High Court order, it would be easy to get the bail in other cases".

However, the Supreme Court order will not pave the way for 72-year-old Khaleda to walk out of prison as her lawyers said she was being held behind bars in some other cases also.

Lawyers from both sides, however, said the BNP chief is not going to be freed from jail now as she has been shown arrested in some other cases. The Zia orphanage trust is named after Khaleda's husband and Former President of Bangladesh Ziaur Rahman. Therefore, she could not be granted bail on health grounds, he said. Zia is serving a five-year prison term in a corruption case.

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Yesterday, the Supreme Court also ordered authorities to make a final decision by July 31 involving a separate appeal by Zia seeking her release from jail.

Later, the ACC and the government moved the appeals before the SC challenging the HC's bail order.

On March 19, the Appellate Division stayed Khaleda's bail until May 8 in the graft case in which she was convicted by the lower court.

The court also sentenced Khaleda's elder son Tarique Rahman, now in the United Kingdom, and four others to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment each, and fined them a total of Tk 2.10 crore, saying that all the convicts have to pay the fine in equal amounts.

The SC on May 8 adjourned until May 9 the hearing on the petitions filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and the state against Khaleda's bail.

He hoped that the High Court will soon start hearing on the petition.