The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the High Court order that granted bail to convicted BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
Lawyers from both sides, however, said the BNP chief is not going to be freed from jail now as she has been shown arrested in some other cases.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, passed the order after hearing two leave-to-appeal petitions filed against the HC bail.
The SC also issued an order to dispose of Khaleda's appeal petition challenging the lower court's verdict in the case by July 31.
Right after the pronouncement of the verdict, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam in his reaction said, "If a person secures bail in one case out of five then he or she has to remain behind bars until securing bail in all the remaining cases."
Necessary initiatives will be taken later over the HC order to dispose of Khaleda's appeal petition by July 31, he said.
Asked in how many cases Khaleda was arrested, the Attorney General said, "I don't know about it....the Ministry of Home Affairs can say better."
BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed said, "Khaleda Zia won't be released from jail now as she will have to take bail in six more cases. We'll try to get the bail in the cases as early as possible. It would be easy to secure bail from the lower courts since the Appellate Division upheld the High Court's bail."
He said Khaleda was shown arrested in the cases filed with different police stations in Cumilla, Dhaka, Narail and Panchagarh.
Moudud, also a former law minister, feared that the government may try to prolong Khaleda's stay in jail by resorting to various tricks. "So, she'll have to stay in jail until she gets bail in the cases she was shown arrested."
Asked whether the July-31 deadline set by the Supreme Court for disposing of Khaleda's petition is sufficient, he said, "It's not possible to say now as we'll understand it when the hearing begins. We'll get ready for the hearing."
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said they must take steps to settle the BNP chief's petition against her conviction in the case by July 31 as per the Appellate Division's direction.
He hoped that the High Court will soon start hearing on the petition.
Expressing satisfaction over the judgment, Khaleda's lawyer Kayser Kamal told UNB that the BNP chief got justice from the Supreme Court.
He said BNP chairperson is now facing 36 cases.
Hours after the Appellate Division's order, the BNP chief's another lawyer AJ Mohammad Ali moved to the court seeking a short order on Khaleda's bail.
However, the court turned down his prayer saying there is no legal scope of giving such a short order.
After hearing arguments on Tuesday, the Appellate Division set Wednesday to deliver its order on the two petitions filed challenging Khaleda's bail granted by the High Court.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, the Attorney General appealed to the court for holding more arguments in the case.
On May 9 last, a four-member Appellate Division bench, led by the Chief Justice, fixed Tuesday for delivering the order after closing a two-day hearing on the two petitions.
The SC on May 8 adjourned until May 9 the hearing on the petitions filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission and the state against Khaleda's bail.
On March 19, the Appellate Division stayed Khaleda's bail until May 8 in the graft case in which she was convicted by the lower court.
The Dhaka Special Court-5 convicted the former Prime Minister and BNP chairperson and sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
She was then sent to old central jail at Nazimuddin Road in the city on February 8 last.
She secured four months' bail from the High Court in the case on March 12.
On March 15, the ACC and the state filed two leave-to-appeal petitions before the Appellate Division challenging Khaleda Zia's bail. Later, the Appellate Division stayed Khaleda Zia's bail until May 8 in the case.
SC upholds HC’s bail granted to Khaleda Zia