Family of the accused alleges that the former official is being harassed because of personal vengeance and business interests
Chattogram-based conglomerate KDS Group has filed 26 cases against one of its former directors in the space of one year. Most of the lawsuits are over fraud and embezzlement – which the accused's family claims are entirely false, and filed over personal enmity and business interests.
The accused Munir Hussain Khan – a Bangladesh-born United States (US) citizen – is now behind bars.
At a press conference in the port city Wednesday, the accused's father, former harbour master of Chattogram port Muazzam Hussain Khan, said that the group made him and his other sons accused in some cases. However, they had no connection to the company.
His father said after returning from the US, Munir joined KY Steel – a sister concern of KDS Group – in 2007 as an executive director. He was later promoted to a director at the company.
He quit KDS in the wake of an argument at a board meeting in 2018 and joined Apollo Steel in 2019. His father claimed that the former employer started filing the cases as Apollo subsequently emerged as one of the significant market rivals of KY Steel.
The former Chattogram port official claimed the board meeting at which his son had the argument took place in Chattogram central jail, and KDS Group chairman's son Yasin Rahman Tito – a convict in a murder case – chaired the meeting.
Muazzam said, "Just like before, the meeting was held in the central jail with top officials of the steel mill on 11 April, 2018. The meeting took place in the conference room next to the jail super's room."
"At the meeting, Tito assaulted and tortured my son over a disagreement. He also threatened Munir not to protest the company meeting inside the jail," said Muazzam. He claimed that Tito had been holding regular business meetings at the jail since 2011.
After returning home from the meeting, Munir sent his resignation to his employer and asked that his dues be settled and his required termination papers be issued. But the company did not reply to his emails, said Muazzam.
Instead, the company initiated the lawsuits from 25 November, 2019 to 24 November, 2020, claimed the father. He drew the prime minister's attention over the persecution.
While contacted, KDS group legal adviser Advocate Ehsanul Haque Hena told The Business Standard (TBS), "We can file hundreds of cases if we find his involvement in fraud and irregularities. Munir stole a car from us. It took time to find out about the irregularities, so we have started filing cases one year after he stepped down from the post."
In the meantime, Shafiqul Islam Khan, senior superintendent of Chattogram Central Jail, said he is not aware of any business meeting having taken place inside the prison as he recently joined his job.
"However, I can tell you that there is no way an inmate would be allowed to hold such a meeting inside the jail," he told TBS.