bdnews24.com’s Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi has secured a bail order again, this time from a Dhaka trial court in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Senior Special Judge KM Imrul Kayes on Tuesday passed the bail order following Khalidi’s court appearance, reports bdnews24.com.
The High Court on Aug 26 granted Khalidi an eight-week anticipatory bail in the case, which was upheld by a three-member bench of the Appellate Division on Sept 21.
The ACC contends that a Tk 420 million fund that Khalidi deposited into different bank accounts came from an “unknown source”.
Khalidi consistently denied any wrongdoing.
After bdnews24.com announced a Tk 500 million investment by an asset management company in the news publisher in October 2019, the ACC began examining the deal and subsequently started a case against Khalidi on Jul 30.
In an instant reaction to the High Court ruling in August, Khalidi had said he was 'shocked' and 'surprised' by the charges levelled against him by the ACC while questioning the motive behind the case.
“If you look at the allegations, you'll find that the FIR is riddled with mistakes. There isn't a word of truth in it. This has been done to create confusion among the people and humiliate me," he told reporters at the time.
There are two allegations: one is that the money was earned through "unscrupulous" means and the other is that BRAC EPL, a subsidiary of BRAC Bank, did not conduct a valuation of the company.
Khalidi said BRAC EPL sent draft versions of information memorandum of bdnews24.com in 2017 after signing a non-disclosure agreement. "We have also submitted copies of our correspondences with BRAC EPL's managing director and CEO,” he said.
BRAC EPL sent another email in 2018, attaching the revised information memorandum of bdnews24.com with the valuation of Tk 3.71 billion or $46 million, which meant each share was valued at Tk 37,100.
After the ACC began examining the so-called allegation of corruption, Khalidi in an article detailed the circumstances under which bdnews24.com entered the deal, where the money was, why he himself sold some of his shares and what happened after the deal.
“The matter has been probed by more than one state agency—publicly as well as, may I dare say now, behind the scenes—because the allegations or rumours/gossips (spread through social media and other means in the lead-up to the ACC move) were of serious nature,” he wrote.
“The cruellest part was, those who orchestrated it all knew all too well that money only changed hands between two companies incorporated in Bangladesh and operated under Bangladesh laws. Yet the vengeful and powerful people were given free rein when they acted from behind the stage. And those who helped them spread the propaganda knew it too. And, again, those who prepared “reports” meant for people at the very top were fully aware of it too.”