The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Thursday filed another case against former NRB Global Bank managing director Prashanta Kumar Halder, better known as PK Halder, and 11 others on charges of embezzling Tk 44 crore from a non-bank financial institution.
The anti-graft body’s Assistant Director Md Rakibul Hayat filed the case with its integrated district office in Dhaka-1 under the Penal Code 1860, the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, and the Money Laundering Prevention Act, said ACC Spokesperson M Arif Sadiq.
According to the case statement, the accused used fraudulent means to embezzle Tk 44 crore from FAS Finance and Investment under the name of Diya Shipping, which is allegedly a non-existent entity.
The other accused in the case are former Diya Shipping managing director Shiv Prasad Banerjee; former FAS Finance managing director and chief executive officer Russell Shahriar; FAS Finance Chairman MA Hafeez, Vice-Chairman Md Jahangir Alam, and former chairman Md Siddiqur Rahman; and FAS Finance directors Arun Kumar Kundu, Anjan Kumar Roy, Md Mostain Billah, Ujjal Kumar Nandi, Satya Gopal Poddar, and Papiya Banarjee.
Of the accused, Russell was arrested on February 15 in the capital’s Mohammadpur by an ACC team led by its Deputy Director Gulshan Anwar Pradhan.
ACC sources said Halder and his associates had allegedly embezzled over Tk 10,000 crore after receiving loans from various non-banking financial institutions in the name of companies owned by him and his family members.
On October 22, 2019, the ACC issued a travel ban on Halder, but he managed to flee the country through the Benapole land port. It was reported that he had fled to Canada.
Halder had been in hiding until he was arrested in India’s West Bengal on May 14 along with five associates. He is currently on remand in the custody of the Indian financial intelligence agency Enforcement Directorate.
Meanwhile, the government is considering sending a delegation to India’s West Bengal to collect information about PK Halder.
It was also decided at an inter-ministerial meeting that all agencies would work together to bring back Halder from India under the Bangladesh-India extradition treaty, ACC acting secretary Sayeed Mahbub Khan told journalists at the commission’s headquarters in the capital’s Segun Bagicha on Thursday.
The ACC official said, “We requested the home ministry, the foreign ministry, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), and the Interpol authorities in Bangladesh on Tuesday to take legal action for bringing back Halder and also the laundered money.”
In response to the request, the inter-ministerial meeting was held on Thursday morning at the home ministry where officials of the home ministry, the foreign ministry, the law ministry, the Interpol, the ACC, and the BFIU took part, he said.
He also said the meeting discussed in detail the process of bringing back Halder under the Bangladesh-India extradition treaty.
“We also decided to collect all relevant documents to bring him back using the diplomatic and other channels. That will happen very soon, and all steps will be taken for his extradition,” added the ACC official.
Mahbub further said a team would be sent to West Bengal to collect information, if needed, but that was not finalised yet.
“The ACC is the only organisation that has sued Halder for money laundering. No other agency has filed any other case against him. That is why ACC representatives will be included in the team.”
This was the first inter-ministerial meeting but more meetings would be held soon in this regard, he said.
“We have very little information about the money Halder laundered to India. If the BFIU collects more information and gives that to us, we will submit a supplementary charge sheet against Halder in the money laundering case.”
Mahbub also said it was reported that Halder owns wealth in West Bengal and other Indian states. “That is why a letter was sent to the BFIU, asking it to gather more information about his wealth and the money he laundered to India.”