By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, July 1 | Bangladesh Law Minister Anisul Huq has said former prime minister Khaleda Zia has no other alternative but to confess her guilt and apologise to the President to leave the country legally.
The minister said in the Parliament on Wednesday that Zia’s family members had applied for her release to take her abroad for treatment. “But in their application, they did not mention any provision of the law, they accepted it. They took Begum Zia home from jail,” he added.
The Anti-Corruption commission filed another related case on July 3, 2008 related to corruption in the Zia Orphanage. There were six accused in this case including Zia and her son Tarique Rahman. In the case, they have been accused of embezzling 21 million takas from the trust.
In this connection, Huq mentioned that the government considered an earlier appeal under 401 of penal code and suspended her corruption sentences and released her on two conditions. The two conditions were that she will receive treatment at home staying in the country.
“They have applied and got her released, abiding by certain conditions. Now they are saying that she has to go abroad and apply accordingly. That application is final (disposed of). No one else can do anything about it. That application has been disposed of under section 401,” the law minister said. He also said that there are six sub-sections in the law.
“If you (BNP MPs) can show under those sub-sections that you will be able to apply again [to take Khaleda abroad], then I will not be in the legal profession anymore,” he challenged. Pointing to provisions of the law to free Khaleda, the law minister said that any convicted person has to be released through the law.
“There is a way — they can apologise to the President or to the government admitting guilt under section 401.” Referring to Khaleda’s treatment, he said she was at Evercare Hospital where she received proper care. The law minister urged the BNP to stop doing “meaningless political stunts” regarding Khaleda’s treatment.
Anisul was responding to allegations from two BNP legislators that the government is not allowing the former prime minister to leave the country for receiving better medical treatment because of political reasons.
Speaking on the cut motion during the passage of the budget for 2021-22 fiscal, BNP lawmakers Harunur Rashid and Mosharraf Hossain demanded that the government allow Khaleda to get treatment abroad.
Pointing to BNP leaders’ repeated appeal to send Khaleda abroad, the law minister said that once an application is disposed of, it cannot be reconsidered.
BNP chairperson Zia has been in jail since February 8, 2018 over the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. On October 10, 2019, her sentence got extended by five more years after her lawyer appealed against the lower court order.
Meanwhile, in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case, Khaleda Zia was sentenced to seven years as a special court convicted her on October 27,2019.
Right now, Khaleda Zia has at least 36 cases ongoing against her including the Zia Orphanage Trust Corruption Case and Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. She was shifted from jail to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University on April 1, 2019.