DHAKA, BANGLADESH (TIP): A court in Bangladesh’s capital on Wednesday indicted a former prime minister and leading opposition figure in two related cases involving charges of corruption for allegedly using an illegal fund to buy land for a charity named after her late husband.
Judge Basudeb Roy accepted the charges against Khaleda Zia, who was present in the court. Defense lawyer Khandker Mahbub Uddin said the charges that Zia had illegally collected more than $1 million in donations for the charity named after late President Ziaur Rahman were not true. Zia says she is innocent and the charges are politically motivated.
Authorities deny the allegations. Pressing the charges against Zia could further complicate the country’s tense political situation. Zia’s party and her allies boycotted troubled January 5 elections in which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina returned to power with an overwhelming majority.
Zia has vowed to restart protests against Hasina to oust her from power, but Hasina has said she would stand tough against any such moves in the South Asian nation, which is a parliamentary democracy. Zia heads the charity, which she established during her latest premiership, in 2001-2006.