PK Halder: His return may take time
Bringing PK Halder back to Bangladesh may take time as it involves legal procedures, said Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami yesterday.
"This involves legal procedures…. You need to understand that this isn't like exchanging Christmas cards."
Doraiswami made the comment after meeting Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen at the foreign ministry on the preparation of the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission meeting, a foreign minister-level meeting to be held in Delhi on May 30.
He said they will give a response from their side once they are provided with due information, adding that they are working with the Bangladesh government and complying with the legal process.
Talking to the press yesterday, the Indian high commissioner also said extradition of criminals is part of the regular cooperation between the two countries and there are various frameworks, including legal aid, to bring criminals to book.
Doraiswami added the Bangladesh government provided information to the Indian agency concerned, which then arrested him after verification on May 13.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said Halder's arrest was based on specific information provided by the Anti-Corruption Commission, and that his extradition will be done following a legal process.
"Doraiswami has assured us of India's wholehearted cooperation towards this end."
He did not clarify whether Halder will return only after the completion of the legal procedures, but said the Indian diplomat has not given any such condition.
"The issue around extradition can be better understood with the advancement of the legal process.
"It is up to India to determine the crime he committed there. Once the investigation is done, then it could be decided how the legal process [for extradition] should proceed," Momen told journalists after the meeting.
He, however, said that in the existence of a "good relationship", legal frameworks are not always required, and both countries have dealt with and cooperated on such issues before.
"It is a financial crime case, not just any other criminal case. They [India] will first carry out legal processes and then consider our requests."
Asked if Dhaka has made a formal request to Delhi, he said, "We will make requests through the diplomatic channel and our home ministry will play an important role here. Our requests will include knowing the full extent of his financial illegality and if it helps our case.
"Halder needs to be brought back home and face the charges against him here."
Momen further said the government will not shelter any criminal, no matter how "powerful" they are.
"We are working closely with the ACC … And trying to sign mutual legal agreements with other countries so that, in future, we get all sorts of cooperation from them regarding money laundered there."
Halder, who was at the centre of scams through which Tk 10,200 crore had been siphoned from four non-banking financial institutions, fled Bangladesh in 2019.
He moved to Ashoknagar of North 24-Parganas, posing as an Indian national under the alias Shibshankar Halder and acquired real estate in West Bengal. He used to introduce himself as a real estate promoter and financial expert.
Following his arrest, the Directorate of Enforcement of India has been quizzing Halder, ex-managing director of NRB Global Bank, on remand since Saturday.
The ED, which probes offences of money laundering and violations of foreign exchange laws, had sought a 14-day remand for Halder. However, the court approved a 10-day one.
In its remand prayer, the ED said that besides questioning they will take Halder to 11 different places where the agency had conducted raids last week.
Meanwhile, the High Court in Bangladesh yesterday fixed June 12 for hearing its suo muto (voluntary) rule over the government's move to arrest Halder.
The HC bench of Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo also asked the Anti-Corruption Commission to submit a report on the update of the cases against Halder before it by the time of the hearing.
On November 19, 2020, the bench wanted to know what steps were taken to arrest Halder and bring him back home from abroad.