Hasina to cut short US visit to face extortion charge
Apr 10, 2007 - 10:52:33 PM

Dhaka, April 10 - Bangladesh's former prime minister Sheikh Hasina has decided to cut short her US visit and return home Saturday to deal with the charge of extortion filed against her.

'I'll go back home to face the situation myself,' Awami League - Presidium member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim told United News of Bangladesh - news agency Tuesday quoting Hasina as saying.

The graft case filed Monday pertains to her tenure in office -. An executive of a private sector power generation company has filed an extortion case accusing her of taking Taka 30 million from him for allowing operation of a barge-mounted power plant.

Selim, a cousin of Hasina, said she would leave Washington for Bangladesh April 12 and reach Dhaka April 14, Star Online said.

Last month authorities raided his office here looking for incriminating documents pertaining to his business deals.

Hasina left here last month on a 30-day sabbatical, to meet her son Joy and family members and complete a book on her father, Bangladesh's founding leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The graft case against Hasina appears to be part of the current drive by the caretaker government of Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed against crime, corruption and militancy.

Over 50 high-profile politicians, including former ministers and lawmakers, have been detained and are being prosecuted. They include Tareq Rahman, son of Khaleda zia, also a former prime minister and Hasina's archrival.

While most of the politicians belong to Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party -, some have also been detained from Hasina's AL.

However, a case against Hasina herself has acquired political importance when the government has indicated it would not hold elections, called off in January, for another two years.

Kazi Tajul Islam Faruque, chairman of Westmont Energy Bangladesh Limited, filed the case Monday with the Tejgaon police station alleging that Hasina and her personal staff Manu Majumder were involved in the extortion.

The case was filed under certain non-bailable sections of the code of criminal procedure.

The case was filed just two days after the AL president fired a broadside at the interim administration of Fakhruddin Ahmed terming it 'undemocratic and unconstitutional'.

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