The Anti-Corruption Commission is going to press charges against BNP Joint Secretary General Aslam Chowdhury and three others for misappropriation of about Tk 325 crore from AB Bank in Chittagong between 2011 and 2013, ACC officials said
The commission yesterday approved the charge sheet submitted by its investigator. It would place the charge sheet before a court soon.
Three other accused in the case are: Chairman of Chittagong-based Rising Steel Mills (RSM) Ltd Jamila Naznin Mawla, its Managing Director Amzad Hossain Chowdhury and Director Jasim Uddin Chowdhury.
The ACC, however, dropped the name of the private bank's then deputy managing director Badrul Haque Khan, who was earlier arrested in connection with the money embezzlement. Badrul was a general manager of Bangladesh Bank when he was arrested last year.
Contacted, ACC's Public Relations Officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said Badrul's name was dropped because "no evidence over his involvement in the money embezzlement is found in the investigation".
The anti-graft body's Deputy Director Mosharaf Hossain Mridha and Deputy Assistant Director Manik Lal Das, who were the investigation officers of the case, declined to comment about dropping Badrul's name.
Manik said, “I was transferred to Patuakhali in the middle of the probe, the case was then investigated by Mosharaf Hossain Mridha."
Mosharaf said he submitted the charge sheet to the commission for approval a couple of days ago. “I have been transferred to Dhaka, I know nothing about it [dropping Badrul's name],” he added.
ACC's Public Relations Officer Pranab said the bank had maintained all banking procedures and several times asked the borrowers to pay up.
“There was no negligence on the part of ACC's investigation,” he claimed.
According to the case statement filed with Doublemooring Police Station in Chittagong last year, Jasim, Jamila and Amzad opened an account with the AB Bank's Agrabad Branch in Chittagong in 2008.
On January 2010, the RSM opened a Letter of Credit of Tk 40.95 crore to import a ship and sell it.
But the company had paid only half of the loan. At least Tk 20.93 crore was outstanding.
On April 28, 2011, the RSM asked for opening another LC to import another ship, MV Express, for scrapping, the case statement reads.
Manager of AB Bank's Agrabad Branch Ishaq Chowdhury sent the proposal to the then assistant deputy managing director of the bank's principal branch, Fazlur Rahman, who gave an interim approval with the condition that RSM pays upfront 20 percent of the loan amount with interest.
The case statement says the company did not pay that, rather sold the ship after import and pocketed Tk 26.45 crore.
Even after that, the RSM again asked the AB Bank for money to import Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) Lara on February 12, 2012.
Ishaq forwarded the proposal to the then deputy managing director of AB Bank, Badrul, who was aware of the outstanding debt.
Badrul, however, gave an interim approval to RSM's application and sanctioned Tk 165.52 crore on February 16, 2012. The vessel was sold for scrap, but the loan was not paid, the statement reads.
On September 2012, the company paid its outstanding Tk 20.93 crore borrowed in 2010.
On August 25, 2013, it applied for another LC to import another oil tanker MT Bikash worth Tk 134.34 crore.
Though the company owed AB Bank a huge amount of money, the bank officials gave an interim approval for the loan.
The RSM and its guarantor Aslam Chowdhury mortgaged only a 2,727.63 decimal land, worth Tk 17.40 crore, against the outstanding loans.
On June 20, 2016, a Chittagong court sent Aslam to jail after law enforcers showed him arrested in eight cases filed for loan default.