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7 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM

Bacchu falls sick during ACC grilling

Bacchu falls sick during ACC grilling

Former Basic Bank chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu has fallen in ill, apparently due to hypertension, while being grilled by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officials for the second day in connection with loan scams. Pranab Kumar Bhattachariya, public relations officer of the ACC, told The Independent that ACC officials quizzed Bacchu from 10am to around 5pm in Segunbagicha.

Bacchu began to feel ill around 2pm. He was then examined by doctors, who did not find anything serious.  The doctors said Bacchu had fallen ill because of hypertension, said Pranab Kumar Bhattachariya.

ACC lawyer advocate Khurshid Alam Khan told this correspondent that the commission decided to question him following repeated observations by the Appellate Division and the High Court (HC) Division  on the loan scam cases.

“We informed the ACC from time to time about the Appellate Division’s and the HC Division’s observations and concern about the loan scam incidents,” he said.

“This is a very good initiative by the commission. I think the real truth may come out following the investigation. The real truth regarding rhe embezzlement of huge amounts of money should come out as the state-owned bank is facing a financial crisis following the scam,” he added.

The ACC on November 23 summoned Bacchu and 10 former directors of the bank to its office for interrogation in connection with scams involving around Tk. 4,500 crore. The move came more than two years after the graft watchdog filed 56 cases against bankers over loan scams that had taken place in the state-run bank between 2010 and 2013.

Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu, a former Jatiya Party MP, was appointed chairman of the bank in 2009. He resigned in 2014 following reports of massive fraud in the bank’s operations.

The initial investigation by the ACC, however, did not found Bacchu’s involvement in the fraud. The ACC also did not put his name as an accused in the 56 cases filed in connection with the massive irregularities found in the bank.

However, in February 2016, finance minister AMA Muhith claimed that an investigation into Basic Bank financial irregularities found evidence of Bacchu’s involvement in fraud tied to loans, appointment and promotion in the bank.

In August this year, the Appellate Division expressed its anger over the fact that Bacchu and the directors had not been named in the cases of loan fraud and money laundering. The HC Division also, on several occasions, expressed its grave concern over the non-inclusion of the names of Bacchu and  other directors in the incidents of fraud and money laundering.

With yesterday’s interrogation, the graft watchdog has so far grilled 10 former directors and the chairman of the bank over the massive loan fraud.

The ACC had opened an investigation into the state-run Basic Bank after allegations that Tk. 35 billion in loans had been illegally disbursed from the Gulshan, Dilkusha and Shantinagar branches of the bank between 2009 and 2011. The Basic Bank is accused of disbursing loans without collateral security and using false documents, fictitious names and organisations in violation of the rules and regulations.

About four years later, the ACC had started 56 cases in three police stations in Dhaka, accusing 156 people including 26 bank officials. However, it claimed that Bacchu’s involvement was not found in the financial irregularities. The Parliamentary Standing committee on the Finance Ministry was unhappy with the ACC findings and the central bank opened a separate investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, the ACC filed yet another case over dishonest loan sanctioning by Basic Bank, the latest in connection with a spate of scams that rattled the banking sector. Three persons, including a Basic Bank officer, have been sued in the case, the 57th lawsuit in connection to the scams, said Pranab Kumar Bhattachariya.

Md Selim, former general manager and manager of Basic Bank’s Babubazar branch, and Md Saiful Islam and Md Ataur Rahman, officials of Iksol Food and Beverages, have been sued in the case filed with Bangshal police station.


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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