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Monday, June 30, 2008
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A special court yesterday deferred to July 6 the hearing on a petition to exempt detained Tarique Rahman from appearing in person during trial proceedings of a Tk 21-crore bribery case involving the murder of a Bashundhara Group director.

The same court also deferred to July 6 the hearing on a similar petition filed by detained former home minister Mohammad Nasim's lawyers.

Judge Shahed Noor Uddin of Special Court-3 at the parliament building complex set the hearing date to July 6 following a prayer for time by the defence.

As the court went into session at 3:25pm yesterday, defence counsel Sanaullah Mia told the court that the hearing on the exemption petition should not go on as their senior advocate was absent.

The prosecution counsel Syed Shamim Ahsan Habib, however, did not oppose the defence plea.

On Wednesday, detained BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman, son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, through his lawyers filed the petition seeking exemption from appearing before the court during proceedings on health grounds.

The same day Khaleda's younger son Arafat Rahman Koko was exempted from appearing before the court in person in the Gatco corruption case.

However, defence lawyer Masud Ahmed Talukder while talking to the reporters yesterday said even though they were prepared for the hearing on the petition, they could not do so due to "untold reasons".

"Perhaps, the prosecution is not getting the green signalů the government will provide its decision about their [Tarique's and Koko's] overseas treatment through executive orders and the prosecution will be able to start hearings only after getting the green signal," he said.

Prosecution lawyer Syed Shamim said they did not know anything about the "untold reason". Rather it was the defence who might know something, he added.

Regarding the "green signal", he said, "We do not believe in any signals and even do not have any knowledge about any signals. We make decision based on matters presented before the court."

The same court also deferred to July 6 the hearing on the petition of Mohammad Nasim for exempting him from appearing before the court during proceedings of a corruption case.

Judge Shahed Noor Uddin fixed the date following a prayer for time by Nasim's counsels. The defence sought the deferment saying they did not get medical reports and documents.

On Thursday, defence lawyer of Nasim, now undergoing treatment at LabAid Specialised Hospital (LSH) in the city, filed the petition seeking exemption from personal appearance on health grounds in the case filed in connection with the illegal setting up of 300,000 digital telephone lines by Worldtel Holdings Ltd.

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