The government is suffering from indecision over arresting BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia when the action has become a legal compulsion for it, as she is unwilling to appear before the court leaving her Gulshan office.
A court has ordered the government to arrest
the former prime minister, as she had not appeared before it for three consecutive working days during hearing of two corruption cases - Zia Orphanage Trust Graft Case and Zia Charitable Trust Graft Case.
How long the police will say that they did not receive the court order has become a million dollar question. Three more days are left for the police to take Khaleda into their custody and produce her before the trial court. The court is scheduled to hear the corruption case on March 4 and police is bound to arrest Khaleda by this time and produce her before it.
Khaleda may personally appear before the trial court by this time and seek bail, legal experts have said. But lawyers of the BNP chief on Sunday said it categorically that their client will not appear before the trial court.
Rather, they filed two petitions with the High Court on January 28 expressing no-confidence in the judge of the trial court, who is dealing with the corruption cases and issued arrest warrant against her. They sought transfer of the cases from the incumbent trial court.
Khaleda Zia will not appear in the trial court which had issued arrest warrant for her until the HC disposes of her petitions, her counsel Khandker Mahbub Hossain told journalists at a press conference at the SC premises on Sunday.
The BNP chief will not seek bail petition from the court. She will not even file any petition to the trial court seeking withdrawal of the arrest warrant, he said.
Khandker Mahbub moreover said that the Anti Corruption Commission should file a petition with the trial court seeking withdrawal of the arrest warrant for Khaleda Zia.
Asked about the legal procedure and government's obligation to arrest Khaleda obliging court order Former Law Minister Barrister Shaifque Ahmed yesterday told the Daily Observer that it depended on the court order.
"Police may need not to arrest her immediately, if the court asks it to produce the accused before it on the scheduled date of hearing. Khaleda may appear before the court by this time and seek bail," he said.
"She cannot ignore the court. There is no distinction between a former prime minister and an ordinary man. Everybody is equal before law. You cannot say of democracy if you flout law and disobey the court. Law will take its own course," Barrister Shafique said.
However, the government on political consideration is showing a lenient view about arresting Khaleda. After issuance of the arrest warrant on Wednesday, Khaleda's counsel and BNP standing committee member Barrister Zamir Uddin Sircer requested the government not to take her to jail.
"The government may rather keep her confined in the BNP office declaring it a sub-jail," he told journalists. The opposition party later changed its stance to more defiance appaently throwing a challenge for the government.
Meanwhile, Khaleda's application to the HC seeking the transfer of two graft cases in the Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trusts filed will come up for hearing maintaining the serial of the cause list.
The court came up with the view when Khandker Mahbub Hossain mentioned the petition for fixing the date of hearing before the HC division bench comprising Justice M Rezaul Haque and Justice M Khasruzzaman, three days after the impugned trial judge, M Abu Jamader, issued a warrant for Khaleda's arrest.
"Let the matter come up on the cause list and then it'll be heard maintaining the serial," said the court order.
The application, showing no-confidence in the trial judge of special court-3, was submitted with the High Court on January 28 and it was apparently remained latent.
In her petition, Khaleda sought the transfer the two cases to another court as she expressed her no-confidence in the incumbent trial court judge apprehending that she would not get evenhanded justice.
The BNP chairperson earlier had sought transfer of case from the bench of judge Basudev Roy who framed charges against her. The court however denied it.
On March 19 last year, the court framed charges against the BNP chairperson, her eldest son Tarique Rahman, now living in London, and seven others in the Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage Trust graft cases.
On August 8, 2011, the ACC filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing four people, including Khaleda Zia, of abusing power in raising funds for the trust from unknown sources.
Besides, the ACC filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on July 3, 2008 with Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda Zia, Tarique Rahman, and four others of misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore which came as grants from a foreign bank for orphans.