The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday arrested NGO owner Aminul Haque Sarkar in connection with 33 cases filed over misappropriation of about Tk 18.5 crore from Sonali Bank.
The High Court had earlier criticised the ACC for wrongly implicating jute mill worker and innocent Jaha Alam in 26 out of the 33 cases. Because of the error, he had to spend around three years in jail.
The ACC held Aminul from the capital’s Segunbagicha area.
Its Assistant Director Gulshan Anowar Prodhan is now interrogating Aminul in one of the 33 cases filed with Darus Salam Police Station on October 3, 2012.
“He [Aminul] is charge-sheeted in 33 cases and the main culprit of the scam,” said an ACC official.
The official said Aminul led the syndicate of frauds who embezzled Tk 18.5 crore from Sonali Bank.
On September 14, 2010, the state-run bank lodged a case with Motijheel Police Station over misappropriation of the money. The Detective Branch of police arrested Aminul in connection with the case. He was then freed on bail, he said.
The case was later sent to the ACC for further investigation.
“He told the DB that of the Tk 18.47 crore, he got Tk 4.8 crore as his share,” the ACC official added.
Aminul has Tk 52.14 lakh and Tk 30.64 lakh in Begum Rokeya Sarani and Mirpur branches of Brac Bank Ltd.
On ACC’s appeal, a Dhaka court froze the accounts in September 2018. It also seized his 473 decimal land worth Tk 1.17 crore in Manikganj Sadar upazila.
“After misappropriating the money from Sonali Bank, Aminul founded an NGO -- Ekush Shotoker Unnayan -- in Manikganj and invested about Tk 1.30 crore there,” the ACC official said.
“He has 11 accounts with Brac Bank’s Mirpur branch. We’ve got proof that he made transactions of over Tk 8 crore in the accounts between 2010 and 2011,” the official added.
In 2012, the ACC filed 33 cases against a number of individuals over misappropriation of Tk 18.5 crore from Sonali Bank.
In 26 of the cases, Abu Salek, a businessman, was accused. But the anti-graft body identified Jaha Alam as Salek. He was arrested in 2016 and sent to jail.
When the issue of wrongly implicating Alam surfaced in the media, the HC intervened and ordered his release. He was released from Kashimpur Central Jail-2 in Gazipur on February 4 this year.
The ACC then assigned its Director (legal wing) Abul Hasnat Md Wadud to enquire into the matter.
On July 11, the anti-graft body submitted before the court Wadud’s findings, where former investigation officials of ACC are held responsible for the wrongful implication.
“It seems that the mistake of identifying Jaha Alam as Abu Salek happened because of the investigation officials,” said the report.
Describing the extent of the officials’ carelessness, the report said 12 ACC officials investigated the cases, but none of them visited Alam’s house.
Some bank officials and introducers of Salek’s bank accounts misled the investigation officials, it mentioned.
“But it is the duty of the investigation officials to unearth the truth and present it before the court. There is no scope for shifting this duty to bank officials or someone else,” said the probe report.
“During my investigation, I visited Jaha Alam’s house. His house is so dilapidated that anyone would doubt how the house of a person involved in misappropriation of over Tk 18 crore could be in such a dismal state?”
On July 16, the HC said they wanted to know about the actions taken against the officials of ACC and banks responsible for wrongly implicating jute mill worker Alam in corruption cases.
It fixed August 21 for further hearing and passing order on this issue.