Money Laundering: Sinha, 10 others sued by ACC

The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday sued former chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha and 10 others for  misappropriating and laundering about Tk 4 crore from the then Farmers Bank in 2016.

The accused include the bank’s former MD AKM Shamim, Senior Executive Vice President and former head of Credit Division Gazi Salahuddin, First Vice President of Credit Division Swapan Kumar Roy, Senior Vice President and former branch manager Zia Uddin Ah-med, First Vice President Shafiuddin Askary and Vice President Lutful Haque.

The other accused are one Shahjahan of Tangail’s Sreehoripur village; Ranjit Chandra Saha of the dis-trict’s Jodunathpur village, his wife Santri Roy and nephew Niranjan Chandra Saha.

According to the case statement, Shahjahan and Niranjan opened two current accounts with Farmers Bank’s Gulshan Branch on November 6, 2016.

The next day, each of them applied for loan of Tk 2 crore.

The two used the same residential address -- House 51, Road 12, Sector 10, Uttara Residential area -- in their bank documents, including loan applications. The ACC, during investigation, found that the house is owned by Sinha, the statement said.

Shahjahan and Ranjit are known to be well acquainted with ex-CJ Sinha, it said.

The two account holders mortgaged 32 acres of land, owned by Santri Roy, in Savar against the loan applications, the statement said, adding, “Without any scrutiny, any analysis of records and with disregard to banking rules, the then manager of Gulshan branch of the bank Zia Uddin Ahmed, operation manager Lutful Haque and credit in-charge Shafiuddin Askary prepared a loan proposal within hours.”

Later, Ziauddin himself went to the bank’s head office in this regard. Credit Committee officer Swapan pre-pared and signed an office note and took it to the head of credit Gazi Salahuddin who also signed the paper without any scrutiny.

They then took the loan proposal to the then managing director AKM Shamim.

“As per the credit rules of the bank, managing directors are not authorised to sanction any loan. However, he [Shamim] approved the loan proposal,” reads the statement.

A day after the loan money arrived in the two accounts, two pay orders, each worth Tk 2 crore, were issued from the bank branch, it said.

On November 9, 2016, the pay orders were deposited to Sinha’s account with Sonali Bank’s Supreme Court branch, the statement said, adding the ex-CJ withdrew the money on different dates.

Sinha also transferred about Tk 2.23 crore to his brother’s Shahjalal Bank’s Uttara branch account on November 28, 2016 and withdrew the money in cash and through cheque.

“During the transaction, Ranjit Chandra Saha used chief justice’s name to create influence,” said the statement. 

Ranjit and Shahjahan are childhood friends, the statement said, adding that, “From primary investigation and testimonies it appears that they are poor and destitute and were never involved in any business.”

“Accused former chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha misguided them, used Ranjit Saha and took signature on bank documents. They misappropriated Tk 4 crore and the money is yet to be paid,” the statement said.

“For the ill purpose of his own benefit, former chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, abusing his power and with the help of others, took a loan [using fake documents] and transferred the money to his account for misappropriation … thus [he] committed offence under the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012,” it added.

Loan scam-hit Farmers Bank was renamed Padma Bank as the troubled lender looked to get an image makeo-ver. Padma Bank started its journey in March.

On completion of enquiry, ACC Assistant Director Gulshan Anowar Pradhan filed a report to the three-member anti-corruption commission which approved filing of the case.  ACC Director Syed Iqbal Hossain filed the case with his office yesterday.

Justice Sinha, appointed 21st chief justice of the country in January 2015, came under fire after the Supreme Court on August 1, 2017 released the full text of the verdict scrapping the 16th amendment to the constitu-tion.

The amendment had empowered parliament to remove judges for misconduct or incapacity.

Following the verdict, the prime minister and senior ministers came down heavily on Sinha, with many of them calling for his resignation.

Some pro-AL organisations, including Bangabandhu Awami Ainjibi Parishad, held protest programmes against him. Parishad leaders threatened to launch a tougher agitation if he didn’t step down.

On September 13, the Jatiya Sangsad passed a resolution calling for legal steps to nullify the SC verdict. The law minister on several occasions said the government would seek review of the judgment.

On October 2, 2017, the law minister said the then chief justice would go on a month’s leave from October 3 on health grounds. However, while leaving the country for Australia on October 13 the same year, Justice Sinha said he was not sick.

On the following day of his leaving, the SC in a statement said Justice Sinha was facing 11 charges including “graft and money laundering”.

Amid flak from the ruling quarters over different issues, including the 16th amendment verdict, Sinha resigned on November 11, 2017.

The anti-graft watchdog began the enquiry in May last year.


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