50 injured in clashes as Khaleda Zia appears in court in graft cases

At least 22 people have been injured in clashes between opposition BNP activists and government supporters as former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia appeared in court here today in connection with two graft cases against her.

PTI| Updated: Dec 24, 2014, 19:19 PM IST

Dhaka: At least 22 people have been injured in clashes between opposition BNP activists and government supporters as former Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia appeared in court here today in connection with two graft cases against her.

Khaleda Zia appeared in court here today for hearing in two graft cases as clashes erupted between BNP activists and government supporters, injuring over 22 people.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets against clashing protesters, who damaged shops and vehicles and engaged in arson and stone-pelting.

The clashes erupted between the supporters of Bangladesh Awami League party and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) as Zia's motorcade arrived at the court here in the capital's Bakshibazar area.

Several bomb explosions were heard during the clash but no casualties have been reported.

Amid the clash, BNP Chairperson Zia appeared before Dhaka's Third Special Judge's during a hearing of graft cases against her.

As soon as Zia's car arrived at the court, police did a baton-charge on BNP supporters, who were trying to enter the court premises.

The court deferred the hearing and set January 7 for the next hearing as Zia's lawyer pleaded for more time.

The deferment came a month after she lost her last ditch effort to evade the trial as the Supreme Court turned down a 'leave to appeal' petition challenging her indictment in the two graft cases in the lower court.

Ruling party MP from Netrokona, Chhabi Biswas was also attacked in front of the DMCH during the clash.

Biswas suffered head injuries and was being treated at the emergency unit of the nearby Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where other injured people also received primary treatment.

"Some 22 people were injured in the clash. They took primary treatment at the hospital while MP Biwas has been admitted to the hospital," an official at the facility said.

The anti-graft body filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case in 2009 against seven people in connection with embezzlement of funds. The other case was filed in 2011 accusing Zia and three others of abusing power in setting up the charitable trust.