While still a student, Jesmin founded an organisation named “Leelabali” that only exists on paper. Between June 2012 to June 6 this year, Tk148.41 crore had been deposited in her personal or company accounts
Her name is Jesmin Akhtar, alias Jesmin Pradhan. According to her National Identity card, she is 23 years old, while her passport puts her at age 25.
She has no source of income, but 44 accounts in different banks. The NRB Commercial Bank alone has 34 FDRs in her name, with a total deposit of Tk2.31 crore.
While still a student, Jesmin founded an organisation named "Leelabali" that only exists on paper. Between June 2012 to 6 June this year, Tk148.41 crore has been deposited in her personal or company accounts. The amount was subsequently withdrawn in cash from these accounts, after which the money disappeared without a trace.
It is perfectly natural to wonder about the source of Jesmin's huge amount of money. It has now been revealed that the money comes from her brother-in-law, Kazi Shahid Islam Papul, a lawmaker from Lakshmipur-2 constituency.
The first bank account in her name was opened with UCB Bank's corporate branch in 2012 when she was still a minor. Eventually, 43 additional accounts had been opened with different banks on separate occasions.
Scrutinising information unearthed as part of an inquiry led by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), it is believed that these multiple bank accounts were opened in Jasmine's name to legitimise her sister and brother-in-law's illegal assets through regular account deposits.
Her sister Selina Islam is also a lawmaker under women's reserved seats.
When analysing information provided by the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), the ACC found that money had been transferred into Jesmin's accounts from the accounts of her sister, her brother-in-law and their daughter Wafa Islam. The money was later withdrawn from Jesmin's accounts again.
During the course of ACC's inquiry, Jesmin failed to show the source of Tk2.31 crore in her 34 FDRs and other amounts transacted in her name, neither did she mention these funds in her income tax documents.
According to the BFIU report, she showed a total of Tk26.34 crore – Tk1 crore in 20 FDRs in her name, Tk20.86 crore in Selina Islam's 295 FDRs, Tk2.18 in Papul Islam's 23 FDRs and Tk 2.29 crore in her niece, Wafa Islam's name – to take advantage of the Tk25.23 crore overdraft.
ACC investigators said Papul Islam was able to abuse his position as a director of NRB Bank. During her interrogation, Jesmin failed to provide any satisfactory explanations with regards to the destination of the funds.
Therefore, the ACC fears that the money may have been laundered.
Upon submission of the inquiry report by ACC Deputy Director, Mohammad Salauddin, the ACC gave its go-ahead to file cases against the four.
ACC is set to file a money laundering case today (Wednesday) against Jesmin Pradhan, Kazi Shahid Islam Papul, Selina Islam and Wafa Islam.
According to several top ACC sources, after the money laundering case is filed, another case may be filed against Papul and his accomplices over amassing of illegal wealth. The inquiry is already in its final stages.
Sources said the ACC would seek asset statements from them next week. Notices in this regard will be served against Papul, his wife, daughter, sister-in-law, and several of accomplices, including Kazi Md Jamshed Kabir (Baki Billah), Ismail Hossain Khokon and Altaf Hossain Hawladar.
ACC sources have said that the Commission has found Tk151 crore in movable and immovable assets in the country in Papul's name - Tk90 crore in movable assets worth, and Tk61 crore in immovable assets. However, not a single valid source could be traced for these assets. According to intelligence received by the ACC, Papul acquired these assets through a number of nefarious means, including human trafficking.
The Commission has received information about Tk159 crore in movable and immovable assets in Selina Islam's name.
Although Wafa Islam is still a student, ACC has identified movable assets worth Tk24.29 crore in her name.
ACC has information regarding Papul's associate, Jamshed Kabir, who holds assets worth more than Tk15 crore, while Ismail Hossain and Altaf have amassed wealth worth over Tk6 crore and Tk2.5 crore respectively. The Commission is also aware of assets held by them in the Middle East.
ACC sources claimed this trio were Papul's main accomplices in human trafficking.
Papul was arrested in Kuwait on 6 June this year on charges of human trafficking and money laundering. He later admitted to being engaged in these activities, and also acknowledged involvement in illegal visa trading and bribery of Kuwaiti officials, reported the country's media.
Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti court began the trial of MP Papul and other accused on 17 September, after rejecting his plea for release in the case, which charged him with human trafficking, money laundering, bribery and threatening state security.