Major loan defaulters: HC again slams ACC over inaction
The High Court yesterday once again blasted the Anti-Corruption Commission for dilly-dallying in bringing major loan defaulters and embezzlers to book.
"The loan defaulters are not more powerful than the law. Why are you not taking effective actions against the major loan defaulters?" an HC bench asked ACC lawyers Khurshid Alam Khan and MA Aziz Khan.
The bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat Lizu observed, "They [major loan defaulters] are misappropriating thousands of crores. Why aren't you bringing them to book? Will the big loan defaulters remain untouched? The commission is busy catching small time loan defaulters, but not the major ones."
The comments were made during the hearing of a petition filed by the ACC seeking cancellation of bail granted by a lower court to ASM Hasanul Kabir, a former official of Shahjalal Islami Bank accused of embezzling Tk 110 crore.
ACC lawyer Khurshid told the court that the commission would bring the individuals involved in embezzling public money to book.
The HC bench also expressed dissatisfaction that the ACC had not submitted a fresh charge sheet in the case even though a trial court ordered it to do so in 2015.
As the court asked about the principal accused in the case, Khurshid said the main accused Bismillah Group Managing Director Khaja Solaiman Anwar Chowdhury was on the run.
The HC bench then adjourned the hearing until December 4.
The case was filed with Ramna Police Station in 2013 by Nakibul Islam, manager of Eskaton branch of Shahjalal Islami Bank, over embezzlement by Bismillah Group.
There were several other accused besides Solaiman and Hasanul.
After a Dhaka court granted Hasanul bail in October 2017, the ACC filed the petition with the HC challenging the bail order.
In January 2018, the HC issued a rule asking Hasanul to explain as to why his bail should not be scrapped.
On November 8 this year, the same HC bench reprimanded the ACC for the long delays in investigations into BASIC Bank loan scams and asked why the bank's former chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu was not accused in any of the cases.
"Several years have passed, but the Anti-Corruption Commission is yet to submit a charge sheet [to the lower court] in any of the cases filed over BASIC Bank loan scams. What is the reason for such a long delay? Will the investigation continue for an indefinite period?
"Those who are responsible for the embezzlement of huge amount of public money from BASIC Bank must be brought to book and their trials will have to be finished quickly," the bench said while hearing three bail petitions filed by Mohammad Ali, former general manager of BASIC Bank's Shantinagar branch, in three corruption cases filed by the ACC.
According to a Bangladesh Bank enquiry, around Tk 4,500 crore was syphoned off BASIC Bank between 2009 and 2013 when Bacchu chaired the board of the bank.
On June 14, this year, the HC bench led by Justice Md Nazrul Islam slammed the ACC and police for failing to arrest all of the 15 accused in a case filed over embezzlement of Tk 176 crore from AB Bank.
"We gave directions to arrest all the accused of the Tk 176 crore embezzlement case more than six months ago. Why have they not been arrested yet? We want to know the reasons," the HC bench said during a hearing.
On November 4 last year, an HC bench led by Justice M Enayetur Rahim (now a judge of the Appellate Division) observed that loan defaulters can't have the legal rights to participate in elections.