The High Court yesterday directed the Anti-Corruption Commission to submit within two and a half months the charge sheets in the 21 cases filed over BASIC Bank loan scam.
There are 21 corruption cases with the trial court against Iqbal Hossain Bhuiyan, managing partner of SD Survey Firm, and several others for their involvement in the BASIC Bank loan scam.
The court may decide whether to grant Iqbal bail in the cases if the ACC failed to submit the charge sheets in two and half months, the HC said in the verdict.
The HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Mohi Uddin Shamim gave the orders while disposing of 20 bail petitions filed by Iqbal.
The countdown to the two-and-a-half month period will begin the day the ACC receives a copy of the verdict, Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik told The Daily Star.
The ACC filed the 21 corruption cases in 2015 accusing the businessmen and bankers of embezzling around Tk 700 crore by inflating the prices of mortgaged properties of borrowers at the bank.
Iqbal, who was sent to jail on July 12, 2019, secured bail in one of the 21 cases from the HC earlier.
The HC yesterday asked the state and the ACC to explain why Iqbal should not be granted bail in the remaining 20 cases, DAG Manik said.
Hearing the petitions on Wednesday, the HC bench said the accused caused financial damage to the state and the inflating of the prices of properties must stop.
Merits of the cases will go to waste and the corruption accused will get bail if it took so long to submit the charge sheets, the bench observed.
On Wednesday, the HC heavily rebuked the ACC for its failure to submit the charge sheets in more than five years.
"If the corruption watchdog fails to discharge its responsibility, how the corruption and irregularities will be eradicated?" it said.
Lawyer Momtaz Parvin represented Iqbal, while Khurshid Alam Khan and AKM Fazlul Hoque the ACC during the hearing on the rules.
According to a Bangladesh Bank enquiry, between 2009 and 2013, about Tk 4,500 crore was swindled out of BASIC Bank.