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Zia's 'fugitive' son is now BNP's acting chief

Press Trust of India  |  Dhaka 

Bangladesh's main opposition party, the BNP, has named the 'fugitive' and convicted eldest son of as its acting chief, a day after the former prime minister was sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment in a graft case.

The 72-year-old three-time former was sentenced yesterday by the in connection with the embezzlement of 21 million taka (about USD 250,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust, named after her late husband Ziaur Rahman, a military ruler-turned- politician.

The verdict simultaneously sentenced Zia's "fugitive" eldest son and Nationalist Party (BNP's) senior vice president as he was tried in absentia.

Rahman, 53, and four others have also been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

"is now the of BNP," senior of the party said.

Senior later told that the decision was taken in line with the party's constitution and Rahman would lead the party from exile as he is now in

Rehman fled to in 2008 after he was detained by an army-backed for more than 18 months.

In 2016, he was convicted in absentia and sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of money laundering.

"There is no problem for him to be the party chief," Khan said when asked as a fugitive convict if he was qualified to run the party from abroad.

The opposition party's move evoked sharp response from the ruling

general secretary and road transport minister sharply reacted to the decision, saying the preferred to make someone corrupt to head the party.

He said the recently scrapped a section of its constitution that had debarred dishonest people from being the party

"It is now crystal clear why the BNP abolished Section 7 from its constitution. Now there is no bar in the BNP's constitution for corrupt and convicted persons to be a of this party," he said at a party function.

Rahman is also being tried on several other charges with one being the August 21, 2004 grenade attack on a rally of the then opposition

Twenty three people were killed and Hasina narrowly escaped the assault while a Dhaka court nearly wrapped up the trial proceedings against Rahman and several stalwarts of the then BNP and ex-military intelligence officials.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, February 09 2018. 17:20 IST