We are watching a drama : HC
Basic Bank scam29 November 2022
Staff Reporter :
The High Court has expressed its anger over the role of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for its failure to complete even a single investigation of the 56 cases filed in the Basic Bank scam in last seven years.
While hearing three bail petitions filed by an accused of corruption cases filed in connection with the Basic Bank scams the court said, "Just like a drama. We are watching a drama. Millions of eyes are looking. No work is being done. Why are they (ACC) silent? Billions of money will be plundered. We will only see."
The High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat was holding the hearing on bail petitions placed by accused Mohammad Ali, former manager of Basic Bank's Shantinagar branch, in three cases. Lawyer Abul Hossain who appeared in the court hearing representing the accused said, "More than seven years have passed but the Anti-Corruption Commission is yet to submit charge sheets (to the lower court) in the cases filed for Basic Bank loan scams. As a result the trial couldn't be finished in the case."
Claiming his client innocent the lawyer sought bail for him. Follow the money is not the duty of the ACC, said the lawyer.
Meanwhile, the ACC in a report said that the cases filed in connection with the scam are under investigation for a long time. One of the reasons for the delay in the investigation process of the cases is that the location of the embezzled money in the cases was concealed by withdrawing money entirely in cash.
"Due to the same, identification of the key witnesses in the cases and taking their statements has become difficult. Not all witnesses are responding as expectation. There are a lot of evidences in the cases and it is time-consuming to identify all the actual evidences from the huge amount of bank documents. Besides, the process of identifying the real accused is also very complicated in these cases," also read the report.
The ACC report that was submitted complying with an earlier order of the HC said, "The ACC has recovered Tk 1.15 billion of the embezzled money so far. Number of the accused institution is 129. However, a total of 56 cases were filed in connection with the scam. More 73 allegations are under investigation. The amount paid by the institutions those are under investigation during the investigation is Tk 20.10 billion."
After the hearing, the court fixed tomorrow (Tuesday) for further hearing and delivering the judgement on the issue.
Lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan appeared in the hearing on behalf of the ACC, while Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik represented the state.
According to a Bangladesh Bank enquiry, around Tk 45.0 billion was siphoned off of Basic Bank between 2009 and 2013 when Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu chaired the board of the bank.
A total of 56 cases were filed over the Basic Bank scams. But the ACC could not submit any charge sheet in any of the cases in last seven years, which bars the trial process of the cases.
Mohammad Ali was made accused in 12 cases and he is in jail since September 6 in 2019, said his Lawyer Abul Hossain.
Three cases in which Mohammad Ali sought bail from the HC were filed on charge of embezzling Tk 700 million, 300 million and 780 million respectively with the Ramna Police Station.