The High Court (HC) yesterday declared illegal the conditional bail granted by a lower court to Hall-Mark Group Chairman Jasmine Islam in all the 11 cases filed against her in connection with the Sonali Bank loan scam.
The Senior Special Judge's Court of Dhaka in August last year had granted the bail to Jasmine on condition that she would have to refund Tk 100 crore to Sonali Bank every month in loan repayment.
Delivering the verdict on 11 separate petitions, the HC said conditional bail is illegal as the court cannot grant bail to an accused on any condition.
However, it also said Jasmine will remain on bail until the lower court passes further orders in the cases.
The HC bench of Justice Md Rezaul Haque and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore handed down the verdict after hearing the petitions submitted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in August last year challenging the bails granted by the lower court to Jasmine in the loan scam cases.
Jasmine's lawyer barrister Rafique-Ul Huq told The Daily Star that his client will not have to pay Tk 100 crore a month to Sonali Bank until the lower court comes up with further orders.
The lower court will now fix a date to hear the cases and Jasmine will have to appear before that court on the day, he added.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said it now depends on the lower court whether Jasmine will be granted bail, since the commission has already submitted 11 charge sheets in the cases before the lower court.
So far, Jasmine has not paid any instalment to the Sonali Bank, as the ACC's petitions were pending at the HC.
The ACC on October 4, 2012 filed the cases against 27 top officials of Sonali Bank and Hall-Mark Group for their involvement in the biggest financial scam in the country's history.
Tanvir Mahmud, managing director of the group and allegedly the mastermind, is currently behind bars.
Hall-Mark and five other companies, in connivance with officials of the state-run bank, had withdrawn Tk 3,547 crore in loans from the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch of Sonali bank, using forged documents.
Hall-Mark, a little known group before the scam came to light, alone took out around Tk 2,600 crore, according to a Bangladesh Bank investigation report.
12:00 AM, January 28, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 28, 2014