Arrest warrants have been issued against Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia after she failed to appear for hearings on 11 October in two separate cases filed against her in connection with the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption matter and over undermining the country's map and national flag.
The fifth special judge's court issued a warrant after Khaleda did not turn up for the hearing on the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, while a metropolitan magistrate also ordered her arrest in a libel suit.
Judge Akhteruzzaman of the Special Judge Court-5 had passed the order against Zia and had fixed October 19 for hearing on arguments related to Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, the Daily Star reported.
The former prime minister has been in London since mid-July.
Earlier, the court recorded the statements of 32 prosecution witnesses including the complainant and the investigating officer of the case.
Khaleda Zia is skipping the hearing in the case since July 15, while another accused BNP senior vice chairman Tarique Rahman has been shown fugitive in the case.
The Zia Charitable Trust corruption case relates to corruption over the misuse of funds in a charity named after former president Zia-ur Rahman.
The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case on July 3, 2008, with the Ramna Police Station accusing Khaleda, her elder son Tarique and four others for misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore that was received as grants for orphans via a foreign bank.
"The courts issued arrest warrants in two cases on the same day. It's a ploy by the government so that she can't return home," Khaleda's counsel Sanaullah Mia said, the media reports.
On 3 November last year, A.B. Siddique, the president of Bangladesh Jananetri Parishad, a pro-Awami League organization had filed the case with the court, accusing Khaleda and her late husband and former president Zia-ur Rahman of undermining the country's map and the national flag.
Siddique had submitted a petition seeking an arrest warrant for Khaleda on 17 September, the same court warned Khaleda of arrest warrant if she fails to appear before it today.