Three Bangladeshi ex-ministers detained on graft charge

Other News Materials 10 November 2008 14:18 (UTC +04:00)

A special court on Monday ordered the detention of three former ministers of the last elected Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance government on graft charges over a coalmine deal, court officials said.

Judge Amar Kumar Roy of the special court set up by the military-backed interim government for speedy trials into graft cases, ordered arrest of the country's longest-serving finance minister M Saifur Rahman, also a senior BNP leader, and the president of the rightwing Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Matiur Rahman Nizami as well as secretary Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, reported dpa.

The Jamaat leaders Nizami and Mojahid were in charge of the agriculture and social welfare ministries respectively of former prime minister Khaleda Zia's cabinet between 2001 and 2006. Zia is also accused in the Barapukuria coalmine case along with 15 others, but she was earlier granted bail.

Several thousand supporters of the former ministers thronged to the makeshift court premises, set up at the parliament complex.

Another accused, the former state minister for energy, AKM Mosharraf Hossain, was sent to jail Sunday after surrendering to the court.

Bangladesh's Anti-corruption Commission in February filed the case against ex-premier Khaleda Zia, her cabinet colleagues and government officials for alleged underhand dealing in handing operations of the coalmine in the northern part of the country.

The case was transferred to the special court for trial late last month.