Dhaka, Nov 8 (UNB) - BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Thursday said the Niko deal was signed when Awami League was in power and the BNP government just maintained its continuity.
Khaleda came up with the remarks when she was produced before a makeshift court at the Old Central Jail in the Niko graft case, said Khaleda’s lawyer Advocate Sanaullah Miah.
“Sheikh Hasina was an accused in the same case; she got acquittal, but not me. If I’m produced before the court then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should also be produced before the court in the graft case,” Sanaullah Miah quoted her as saying.
In response to Khaleda’s statement, Dhaka Special Judges’ Court-9 Judge Mahmudul Kabir said Sheikh Hasina has already been acquitted from the graft case by the High Court, so there’s no question of producing her before the court in the case.
The court also set November 14 for the next hearing in the case.
Earlier, Khaleda Zia was discharged from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) upon approval from the medical board formed for her treatment, said BSMMU Director Brigadier general Abdullah-Al-Harun.
Later, a black SUV carrying Khaleda reached the old central jail in the capital's Nazimuddin Road around 11:40 am, according to jail sources.
Several police vehicles escorted her to the old Central Jail from the hospital in the morning.
Following the hearing, she was taken back to the jail, they said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Law Ministry issued a gazette notification saying that the trial of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and others accused in the Niko corruption case will be held at the makeshift court in Old Dhaka central jail.
The ministry issued the gazette notification transferring the court citing security reasons.
According to the gazette, room No 7 of the old central jail's administrative building will be the venue for the makeshift court.
A large number of police, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), Detective Branch (DB) of police and Ansar members was deployed in and around Nazimuddin Road to maintain law and order.
On October 6, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was admitted to the BSMMU after prison authorities shifted her there from jail for better treatment in response to a court order.
On October 4, the High Court directed the government to immediately admit Khaleda Zia to the BSMMU and form a 5-member medical board afresh for her treatment.
Khaleda Zia was in the erstwhile Dhaka Central Jail at Nazimuddin Road since she was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8 last.
Chuadanga, Nov 8 (UNB) - A suspected drug trader was killed in a reported gunfight with police at Ujjalpur Field in Sadar upazila early Thursday.
The deceased was identified as Pappu Hossain, 30, a listed ‘drug trader’ and son of Bazlur Rahman of Akandabaria village in the upaizla.
The ‘criminals’ opened fire on the police during their regular patrol in the area around 2:30 am, forcing them to fire back in self-defence, said Delwar Hossain Khan, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station.
Later, police arrested Pappu with bullet wounds and took him to Sadar Hospital where doctors declared him dead.
Police recovered one shutter-gun, two bullets, four hand bombs and one sack of Phensidyl from the spot.
The OC said Pappu was wanted in six cases, including that of drugs.
Joypurhat, Nov 8 (UNB) – Five people, who suffered serious burn injuries in a fire which broke out at a house in Aramnagar area of the district on Wednesday night, died early Thursday, raising the death toll to eight.
The deceased were identified as Dulal Hossain, 71, father of Abdul Momin, Momin’s two daughters -- Hashi, 12, and Khushi, 12, and Parina, 34, wife of Momin and her six-year-old son Nur.
Earlier, three members of the family-- Abdul Momin, 38, his mother Momena Begum, 62, Brishti, 14, daughter of Momena, were burned to death and five others sustained burn injuries as the fire broke out at the house around 9 pm following a short-circuit.
Sirajul Islam, inspector of Joypurhat Fire service and Civil Defence, said the fire originated from electric short-circuit at the house of Abdul Momin, a poultry trader, and it spread soon, leaving three people dead on the spot and five others injured.
On information, a firefighting unit went to the spot and put out the fire.
The injured -- Dulal, Hashi, Khushi and Parina and Nur -- were taken to Joypurhat Modern District Hospital where doctors referred them to Dhaka Medical College Hospital burn unit.
All the victims died on the way to Dhaka Medical College Hospital around 5:30 am, said Sirajul Islam, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station.
Benapole, Nov 8 (UNB) –Many structures have been built illegally by encroaching both banks of Haor river, once linking Bangladesh and India border as authorities concerned are sleeping at the wheel.
Local influentials constructed different establishments, including huge complexes, ponds and fish enclosures occupying the river banks that stopped the water flow on the river, turning it into a narrow canal and creating huge waterlogging in the country’s biggest Benapole land port area.
Locals alleged that the encroachers brought those lands under their possession showing fake deeds of the lands when opposed, clearing themselves from taking up the river’s land at large.
Flipping the same coin, locals claimed they have been demanding evictions of those structures and establishing Benapole Lake city by reviving the almost-dead river.
During a recent visit to the area, this UNB correspondent found several multistoried buildings constructed on the Haor river bank. A number of fish enclosures have also been made on the riverbank.
Once a lively river, the Haor has now turned into a dry sliver due to the encroachment, locals alleged.
Haor river, once popular as agricultural hub thanks to its multi-faceted links with Gangas and Farakka river of India and Kaputakkha, Rupsha, Betna and Kudla rivers, catered to the lives of thousands of people by transporting fishes, crops and other products, creating the horizon of then open market economy.
Alikdar Sagor, former president of Benapole Lion, an anti-drug organization said the present government had undertaken initiatives to evict those illegal structures from Haor river area but later stopped the project due to some an unknown reasons.
Water Transport Minister and local lawmaker visited the spot on several occasions as part of the project ‘Building Lake City’ during the present regime but could not take the process forward later.
Only 200 yards away from the country’s biggest land port, Haor river was flowing through 20 other rivers including Koputakkha, Ichhamati, Bhairab, Nalua and so many canals in southern-Eastern districts, which now turns a dead one due to sporadic encroachments, impairing river route economy and ecological balance in the religion.
Pulak Kumar Mondal, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Sharsha Upazila, said a list of the encroachers have already been made to evict those establishments.
“We will take legal steps against them soon”, he added.
Keraniganj, Nov 7 (UNB) – A man was killed and 50 others were injured in a violent clash between two groups of villagers at Abdullahpur area under Keraniganj Police Station on Wednesday.
The deceased was identified as Md Tanvir Bhuiya , 50 of Kolakandi village of the area.
Locals said an altercation ensued on Wednesday when villagers from Korargao and Kolakandi area were conducting an arbitration over a rickshaw-motorcycle collision that occurred at Abullahpur Ferryghat area on Tuesday night.
At one stage, people from both the villages swooped on each other with local sharp weapons after failing to come to a conclusion, that left 51 people including Tanvir injured.
Later, Tanvir was rushed to a local hospital where duty doctor declared him dead.
Confirming the incident, officer-in-charge of Keraniganj Police Station Md Shah Zaman said additional forces have been deployed there to avoid further untoward situation.