Hall-Mark factories shut down
Controversial business group Hall-Mark yesterday shut down its factories at Hemayetpur in Savar sine die, keeping the police and local administration in the dark.
Abdul Baten, an inspector of Industrial Police in Savar, said at midnight yesterday they found the closure notices pasted at the entrances of the factories. "We are trying to find out who have pasted the notices."
A Bangladesh Bank investigation in May revealed that the group embezzled over Tk 2,686 crore from the state-owned Sonali Bank's Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch between 2010 and 2012 on forged documents.
The factories went on Eid holidays from October 26 and were supposed to be reopened on November 3, said Mohammad Moniruzzaman, deputy director of Industrial Police.
The notice has created further confusion among the factory workers as the top brass of the Hall-Mark Group including its chairman and managing director have been arrested recently by the Anti-Corruption Commission and nobody in the factory premises knows who are running the business.
Earlier, the government had formed a committee headed by a joint secretary of the commerce ministry to look into the affairs of workers' payments before the Eid-ul-Azha. The Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Savar was made the member secretary of the committee.
The committee arranged a partial payment for the workers before the eid and compelled the company management to announce that it would clear the rest of the dues on October 26.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Savar UNO Kabir Hossain Sarder said he was totally unaware of the indefinite closure of the factories. "Neither the administration nor the committee has closed the units."
Local residents said the factories are now being guarded by a huge contingent of Ansar men.
In 2006, Hall-Mark bought 36 decimal of land from the Hemayetpur site of Janata Housing, a private realtor
The following year, the group set up its first factory Hall-Mark Fashion and started banking with Sonali Bank's Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch.
Hall-Mark now owns around 100 acres of land there.
Though the group claims that it owns 80 factories, at least 45 of those are still in papers only. Most of these units have been set up with short term loans from Sonali Bank, flouting the banking rules.