The HC bench of Justices Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Mohi Uddin Shamim passed the order
The High Court (HC) has asked authorities to explain why the Bangladesh Bank failed to prevent money laundering.
The court has sought the list of central bank officials serving from 2008 to 2020, and other pertinent information.
The court passed the order Thursday, in continuation of the hearing of a rule issued on money launderers, including Prasanta Kumar Halder.
In another development, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested Sukumar Mridha and his daughter Anindita Mridha - two of PK Halder's accomplices. According to the ACC, the father-daughter duo had been looking after PK Halder's assets after he fled to Canada.
During the HC hearing, the court wanted to know about the central bank officials involved in siphoning off money from Bangladesh. According to the ruling, the Bangladesh Bank's Audit Department, Financial Institutions, Marketing Division, and other relevant stakeholders will have to explain by 15 February.
The HC bench of Justices Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Mohi Uddin Shamim passed the order. Later, Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik briefed the press.
The HC also said that the Bangladesh Bank must be held accountable for its failure to prevent money laundering.
Sukumar-Anindita on remand
A Dhaka court Thursday granted the ACC three-day remand to interrogate Sukumar Mridha and his daughter Anindita Mridha. Their names emerged in the ACC investigation in a case against PK Halder.
ACC Deputy Director Salahuddin interrogated the father and daughter at the ACC headquarters in Dhaka on Thursday morning.
ACC spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya told the press that the interrogation began at 10 am, during which they provided vital information. The duo were arrested at noon.
ACC Secretary Muhammad Anwar Hossain Hawlader told reporters that Sukumar and Anindita had been looking after the assets that PK Halder had left behind in Bangladesh.
"Sukumar Mridha also supervises some institutions related to PK Halder's business interests."
"PK Halder deposited around Tk100 crore to her mother Leelaboti Halder's bank accounts against several fake loans. The money was returned to PK Halder through his accomplices, Sukumar Mridha, Abantika Baral and Anindita Mridha.
The investigating officer received intelligence that they [the accomplices] had laundered money in this way," noted ACC Secretary Anwar.
He said the ACC discovered assets worth Tk20 crore and Tk1.5 crore for Sukumar and his daughter Anindita, respectively. In reality, these assets were illegally accumulated by PK Halder.
However, after his arrest Sukumar Mridha told reporters that he was not involved in any scams involving PK Halder. "He is just my client," he claimed.
According to sources, Sukumar Mridha, proprietor of Sukumar & Associates, used to file tax returns for PK Halder and his family members. A number of PK Halder's companies were set up using Sukumar's office address.
Mridha's daughter Anindita, one of the directors of Wintel International, borrowed Tk100 crore from FAS Finance and International Leasing. She did not repay the loans. Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company Limited shares were also bought in Anindita's name.
The ACC arrested Shankha Bepari on 4 January, while Abantika Baral was arrested on 13 January.
Abantika, Shankha, Sukumar and Anindita were arrested in the ACC case filed last year against PK Halder over the accumulation of illegal wealth valued at around Tk275 crore.