Patrons of PK Halder still untouched21 May 2022
Gulam Rabbani :
Even if only the name of Proshanta Kumar Halder, popularly known as PK Halder, is being mentioned for the embezzlement and laundering of thousands of crores of money, one question is very natural that it is not possible for one person alone to embezzle or launder such huge amount of money.
It is clear that a circle with many influential persons has also worked behind him. But their names remain hidden. As a result, none of the patrons of PK Halder has been arrested in the last two years, even after his flee from the country.
Most of those arrested so far are PK Halder's family members who are basically the main beneficiaries of the embezzled money, but none of them is a patron. Although the names of some senior officials of Bangladesh Bank and others have been pronounced repeatedly in this regard, they have not been brought to book. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is also keeping silent on the matter.
The issue is being discussed anew after the recent arrest of PK Halder in India. However, in this case also his patrons are being avoided. State officials are busy only with PK Halder.
Former Managing Director of NRB Global Bank PK Halder was arrested by the Indian Directorate of Enforcement, which investigates money laundering and violations of foreign exchange laws, on May 14 this year.
Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said, "The ACC has been working for a long time on who are the patrons of PK Halder. There are many influential persons whose names couldn't be mentioned now. However, after bringing PK Halder back to the country, he will be interrogated. The names of the culprits will be revealed once the investigation is completed."
Sources said, the Anti-Corruption Commission prosecuted 64 people,
including members of his family, officials of the firms and his lawyer, in 34 cases against Halder. Thirteen of them are behind bars in Bangladesh while more than 100 people have been slapped with travel bans pending trial.
Authorities have frozen the bank accounts of 83 associates of Halder and seized immovable properties worth Tk 10 billion. The ACC is investigating allegations against Halder for embezzlement of Tk 100 billion. It traced Tk 60.8 billion of the funds in banks and seized them. It will be clear after the investigations how much money Halder and his associates embezzled.
The Bangladesh Bank is also investigating the matter as its former deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury and current Executive Director Shah Alam have been quizzed by the ACC over the scam.
Meanwhile, the High Court on March 15 in 2001 wanted to know from the government bodies as to why former central bank Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury and its incumbent Executive Director (ED) Shah Alam are not arrested yet for assisting PK Halder in embezzling and laundering huge amount of public money from four non-banking financial institutions.
If the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) does not take steps to arrest them, the court will be forced to issue an order in this regard, said the High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Mohi Uddin Shamim while hearing on a Suo Moto (voluntary move) ruling issued in this regard.
In one stage of the hearing, the court wanted to know from the ACC lawyer what steps have been taken against the persons whose names came into the confessional statement given by two close associates of P K Halder including the duo. The Anti-Corruption Commission has been asked to comply with the order.
Addressing the ACC, the High Court observed, "If there is a complaint against someone, you cannot show hospitality to him. You must take him in custody."
Complying with the court's asking ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told the High Court that the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) has been examining the bank statements of SK Sur Chowdhury and Shah Alam. After receiving reports from the BFIU, the ACC will take necessary steps against them, added the lawyer.
Law-enforcing authorities in India arrested Halder and five of his associates on Saturday after raiding properties they bought by using fake Indian identities. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal hopes to bring Halder back and recover the embezzled funds soon.