Friday, October 2, 2020 | ePaper

Ex-CJ Sinha, 10 others indicted over Farmers Bank scam

  • Print

A Dhaka court has opened the trial of former chief justice SK Sinha and 10 others on charges of loan fraud and embezzlement of Tk 40 million from the Farmers Bank.
Judge Sheikh Nazmul Alam of Dhaka's Special Judge Court No.4 on Thursday framed the charges against Sinha in absentia and fixed Aug 16 for recording witness testimonies.
Mahbubul Haque Chisty alias Babul Chishti, the former chairman of Farmers Bank's audit committee who is also accused in the case, was brought to the court from jail for the hearing.
KM Shamim, former managing director of Farmers Bank, renamed Padma Bank, and its former senior executive vice president Gazi Salauddin, both of whom secured bail in the case, also attended the hearing.
Ruhul Islam Khan, the lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Commission, read out the charges to the three accused, all of whom pleaded not guilty.
Their lawyers also appealed for the charges to be dropped against them but the judge framed the charges against the 11, including the eight absconding suspects, and ordered the initiation of the trial.
The ACC started the case against Sinha and the 10 others on Jul 10, 2019.
In October 2018, ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood said the commission had found ‘evidence’ of fraud involving transactions of Tk 40 million borrowed by two so-called businessmen, Shahjahan and Niranjan, from Farmers Bank.
The national antigraft agency later launched an investigation into allegations that the fund was deposited in Sinha’s bank account, credited as the proceeds of the sale of his house.
Sinha came under fire from the ruling Awami League over the verdict on the 16th amendment to the constitution and left the country on leave in October, 2017.
Later, he became the first chief justice of the country to quit when he submitted his resignation from overseas, 81 days before the end of his term.
After his resignation, the Supreme Court said in a rare statement that Sinha had been facing 11 specific charges, including corruption, money laundering, financial irregularities and moral blunder.
The government has appealed for a review of the verdict cancelling the 16th constitutional amendment, which allows the MPs to remove any top judge on the grounds of incompetency or misconduct.

The graft-busters have brought charges against Sinha and others under the Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, and the Money Laundering Prevention Act.
According to the case documents, Shahjahan and Niranjan opened separate accounts in the bank’s Gulshan branch on Nov 6, 2016 and applied for Tk 20 million innloans each on the following day.
They used the address of a building owned by Sinha in Dhaka’s Uttara to open the accounts and apply for the loans.
The duo also mentioned a 32 decimal piece of land owned by Ranajit’s wife Shanti as the property against which they sought the loans.
The couple were acquaintances of Sinha and close to him, according to the case.
Ranajit is Niranjan’s uncle and Shahjahan’s friend, the ACC says.
The ACC alleges that the then MD of the bank, Shamim, approved the loans without any scrutiny in breach of its rules and by abusing powers.
The loans had been approved “abnormally fast”, a day after the applications were filed on Nov 7 that year.
Two pay orders worth Tk 40 million were issued for Sinha and money was deposited to his account in Sonali Bank’s Supreme Court branch on Nov 9.
The money was withdrawn through cash transactions, cheques and pay orders later.
On Nov 28, about Tk 22.36 million was transferred to an account of the former chief justice’s brother at the Uttara branch of Shahjalal Bank through two cheques.
Ranajit used the influence of Sinha for quick approval of the loans by presenting Niranjan and Shahjahan as the borrowers but the two were very poor and never involved in any business, according to the case.
The loan has not been repaid yet, the ACC said in the case and added: “SK Sinha misled the other accused through Ranajit to get papers signed.”
Justice Sinha, who has denied the allegations of corruption, said in a book published from the US last year that the government had ‘exiled’ him and that he had resigned in the face of intimidation and threats.
He said at the launch of the book in Washington that he was living in the US as a refugee and sought asylum.
The media in Bangladesh reported that his brother Ananta Kumar Sinha bought a house in New Jersey.
The ACC then launched an investigation into allegations of money laundering against the former chief justice’s brother.
ACC spokesman Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said at the time that Ananta Sinha allegedly bought a three-storey, 4,000 square feet house for $280,000, laundered money abroad, and amassed a significant amount of wealth illegally.
Justice Sinha is also accused of corruption, abuse of power, and bribery in a case started by former BNP leader and lawyer Nazmul Huda, who is known to be close to the ruling Awami League now.


More News For this Category

Mass transfer of police from Cox`s Bazar was needed but won't work

An unprecedented mass transfer has taken place in Teknaf of southeastern Cox's Bazar district following an extrajudicial killing of a retired army officer, Major Sinha. This might have happened

Thousands of jobless Bangladeshi garment workers fear for future

Thomson Reuters Foundation :Thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic are struggling to find work and are at risk of destitution without urgent

Taqsem reappointed Wasa MD for another three years

Staff Reporter :Engineer Taqsem A Khan's tenure as the managing director of Dhaka Wasa has been extended for the next three years, said additional secretary Mohammad Ibrahim of the Local

 Buyers crowd TCB sales centres amid soaring commodity prices

Buyers crowd TCB sales centres amid soaring commodity prices

Staff Reporter :People continue to queue up in front of the TCB's open market points to buy goods at subsidised rates amid soaring commodity prices in the market.Large gatherings at

Reckless driving HC asks Green Line Paribahan to pay Tk 20 lakh more to Russel

Staff Reporter :The High Court on Thursday ordered the Green Line Paribahan authorities to pay Tk 20 lakh more within three months to Russel Sarker, who lost his left leg

Closure of educational institutions extended again till Oct 31

Staff Reporter :The government has again extended the closure of educational institutions until October 31 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.M A Khayer, public relations officer of the Education Ministry

Alexei Navalny blames Vladimir Putin for poisoning him

Leading Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny says he believes President Vladimir Putin was responsible for his poisoning."I assert that Putin is behind this act, I don't see any other explanation,"

Country reports 21 more deaths from Covid-19

Staff Reporter :Bangladesh's confirmed coronavirus tally reached 364,987 on Thursday as health authorities recorded 1,506 cases in 24 hours.Twenty-one new deaths were also recorded during the period, taking the total

Trump backpedals over racist group row, Biden blasts him as 'embarrassment'

US President Donald Trump scrambled Wednesday to quell an uproar over his failure to explicitly denounce white supremacist groups during his debate debacle with Joe Biden, who branded his election

MC College rape DNA samples of six accused collected

Sylhet Bureau  :The samples of six rapists, arrested in connection over the gang-rape of a young woman at MC College Hostel in Sylhet city, have been collected for DNA tests.