The Supreme Court yesterday raised questions about the Bangladesh Bank's findings into the embezzlement of funds from International Leasing and Financial Services (ILFS), a non-bank financial institution.
Proshanta Kumar Halder, also known as PK Halder, a former managing director of NRB Global Bank and Reliance Finance, was involved in the embezzlement of Tk 3,500 crore, according to media reports. But the central bank put the figure at Tk 1,596 crore.
"Is there any jugglery with figures [in the central bank's findings]?" questioned a three-member bench of the Appellate Division.
The bench, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, raised the question during a hearing on an appeal filed by ILFS's two shareholder-directors challenging the directives of the High Court.
The apex court also fixed today to pass an order on the appeal.
Earlier in the day's hearing, Md Shah Alam, an executive director of the BB, appeared before the apex court in line with its February 16 order and submitted a written statement to the court.
The central bank found that Tk 1,596 crore was transferred from ILFS in violation of rules through 48 accounts of various organisations related to the directors and shareholders of the NBFI, he said.
The chief justice said: "We heard that only one person took away Tk 3,500 crore from the company. Is there any jugglery with figures in your findings?"
In reply, Alam said: "I don't want to make any comment about newspaper reports. PK Halder was involved in the misappropriation of Tk 1,596 crore. We don't have any information about the misappropriation of Tk 3,500 crore from the company."
The central bank slapped a fine of Tk 10 lakh on each of the persons involved in the embezzlement and wrote to the Anti-Corruption Commission to take action against them, he said.
Khondker Ibrahim Khaled, a former deputy governor of the BB who has been appointed as an independent chairman of ILFS by the HC, told the court that it was difficult to keep the NBFI afloat as its condition has deteriorated since 2016.
If the central bank adopts a special scheme, the company might be saved, he said.
"About Tk 1,600 crore from ILFS was embezzled by some people. But there was no scope to look into the reasons behind the misappropriation of the ILFS money and we don't know about the last man who had received the money," he added.
Ahsanul Karim, a lawyer for ILFS, told the court that if the company is wound up, many directors and shareholders will suffer and the condition of the financial sector will worsen.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the state and Barrister Tanjib-ul Alam appeared for the BB.
Following a petition filed by seven depositors of ILFS, the HC on January 19 banned all current shareholder-directors and top executives of the NBFI from leaving the country, including PK Halder.
As per media reports in Canada, Halder is residing in Canada and is the director of a company named P&L Hal Holding Inc. there.
The HC also directed the authorities not to transfer any of their movable and immovable properties, including stock, cash money and cars to any persons or entities until disposal of the case.
The home affairs secretary was directed to seize the passports of all the present shareholder-directors and the top executives of the company and collect detailed information about them.
Later two shareholder-directors of the NBFI filed an appeal with the Appellate Division against the HC directive.