Extortion case against Sheikh Hasina
Apr 9, 2007 - 8:22:52 PM

Dhaka, April 9 - The army-backed Bangladeshi caretaker government Monday filed an extortion case of 30 million taka - against former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is now in the US.

Tajul Islam Farooq, a businessman, brought the charge of extortion against Hasina who recently made some critical comments from the US against the caretaker government and the election commission for delaying the general elections under different pretexts.

Hasina, president of Awami League - party, will be debarred from contesting the general elections if the court finds her guilty.

The election, originally scheduled for Jan. 22, is now postponed for an indefinite period under the State of Emergency.

The case was filed with Tejgaon police station in the capital under sections 385, 386, 387 and 109 of Bangladesh Penal Code -, which are non-bailable.

The police said while in power as prime minister in 1998, Hasina got the money through one of her close aides in approving a power project in favour of Farooq. The money was allegedly handed over to her at her official residence of Gano Bhaban -.

If the allegation is proved after preliminary investigation, police will issue the arrest order and Hasina could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in jail if found guilty.

As per the Bangladeshi Constitution, a person will not be eligible for contesting the general elections if he or she is convicted for at least two years on charge of moral turpitude.

The former ruling Bangladeshi Nationalist Party --led four-party government headed by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia ended its five-year tenure on Oct. 27, 2006 and handed over power to the caretaker government headed by Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed.

As the two major parties, BNP and AL, could not evolve a consensus on a series of problems, the political crisis deteriorated. Iajuddin Ahmed had to declare a state of emergency, cancelling the election and banning political activities. He resigned from the post of chief advisor of caretaker government on Jan. 11.

Former central bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed took oath as the new chief advisor of caretaker government on Jan. 12. This government has been saying that it will hold a clean and credible election in the country after preparing a voter list with identity cards and undertaking necessary electoral reforms.

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