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Khaleda joins bete noire Hasina in prison

Sep 04, 2007 12:01 AM IST India India
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New Delhi: Bangladesh’s military-backed interim government has arrested former prime minister Khaleda Zia and her son Arafat Rehman Koko on corruption charges. The two were arrested in an early morning raid at their Dhaka Cantonment residence after the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a corruption case against Khaleda, her son and 11 others. Specifically, the ACC has charged that while she was prime minister between 2001 and 2006, Khaleda abused power and favoured her son's business firm in awarding container terminal contracts. Khaleda must have seen the arrest coming when security forces began surrounding her home close to midnight. But as she reached the courthouse the former prime minister didn’t seem perturbed. Dressed in a white chiffon sari, she smiled easily and even waved to the crowd. However, Khaleda was at her defiant best inside the court. Her lawyer quotes her as saying that the government arrested her in a false case because they failed to pack her off to exile. The court though is unmoved. Khaleda has now been sent to her new home – the jail inside the national parliament building compound where she joins her bete noire and another of Bangladesh's former prime ministers Sheikh Hasina. Khaleda's son gets a seven-day police remand and scores of Bangladeshi politicians, belonging to the two main parties and rounded up in a crackdown in recent weeks, now have their top leadership for company in jail.