Dhaka: The hearing of two petitions filed by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia relating to the Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases has been deferred by a week Thursday.
The High Court bench of Justices Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Md. Khasruzzaman ordered the postponement on Thursday, bdnews24.com reported.
The petitions, asking for a change of judge and stay on the arrest warrant, will come up on the court`s cause list on March 12.
The cases were being tried by Dhaka`s Third Special Judge Abu Ahmed Jamadar.
Khaleda moved the High Court on January 28 with two no-confidence pleas against the judge.
Earlier, she had challenged the validity of the appointment of the judge and his right to frame charges.
The High Court scrapped both of them.
Dhaka`s Third Special Judges Court issued an arrest warrant aginst the BNP chief on February 25 after she failed to turn up on several consecutive hearings.
Her lawyers asked the High Court for a stay on the warrants on Tuesday.
They also asked the trial court for withdrawal of the warrant, but the court on Wednesday only included the pleas to the case documents and the warrant stood valid.
The High Court bench did not hear the pleas. The government and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said that a specific bench was there to hear ACC cases in the High Court and the hearing should be held there.
They also said that as the arrest warrant has been issued, Khaleda is now a fugitive and does not have the right to ask for legal intervention.
"We have raised our points in court. The bench heard them. No hearing has been held on Khaleda Zia`s pleas. It would come up on the cause list next Thursday. We will see then if they would be heard here," said ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam.
"The two petitions for change of judge were the key ones here. Since the cases in question were under the ACC act, they cannot be heard here. We told the court that the pleas are not acceptable as she is in hiding," prosecution lawyer Mamtaz Uddin Fakir said.
"But they also have two pleas for staying the warrant. If decision on postponing the judge is taken, then it would be easier to decide on the other two."
In 2008, ACC filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against six people, including Khaleda and her son Tarique.
It alleged that the defendants misappropriated 21 million taka (about $270,000) from funds meant for the trust, which reportedly came from a foreign bank.
In 2011, the anti-corruption watchdog prosecuted the BNP chief and three others for embezzlement of 31.5 million taka of the Zia Charitable Trust.