Key aide of ex-Bangladesh PM jailed for 10 years
DHAKA (AFP) — A key aide to former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia has been sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail as part of the military-backed government's anti-graft crackdown, a report said Monday.
Harris Chowdhury, the powerful political secretary of the two-time prime minister, was found guilty late Sunday of giving a car belonging to a government tea company to his brother-in-law, the state-run BSS agency said.
He was also fined 1.05 million taka (15,280 dollars).
Chowdhury is one of scores of high-profile figures targeted in a government campaign to clean up Bangladesh's notoriously corrupt and often violent political scene.
The military-backed government has so far detained over 150 top political figures including Zia and her bitter rival Sheikh Hasina, whose family dynasties have ruled the country since independence in 1971.
More than a dozen former ministers, lawmakers and their family members have already been sentenced to between five and 20 years in jail by fast-track courts.
Chowdhury went into hiding after the government launched its nationwide anti-graft crackdown in February, a month after it came to power following the imposition of a state of emergency.
Local newspapers say Harris has fled just across the border to the Indian state of Assam, only a short distance from his ancestral village in northeast Bangladesh.