A Dhaka special judge has indicted Proshanta Kumar Halder, the former managing director of NRB Global Bank and Reliance Finance Limited a, and 13 others on charges of money laundering and accumulating illegal wealth.
Dhaka Special Judge’s Court-10 Judge Mohammad Nazrul Islam read the charges filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission aloud before ordering the case to trial. The first hearing in the case is scheduled for September 22, reports bdnews24.com.
At least 34 cases have been filed against PK Halder, who is accused of embezzling tens of billions of taka after taking control of four financial institutions. This is the first case to go to trial.
PK Halder is currently in prison in India. He and nine others have been registered as ‘absconding’ and the trial is to continue in their absence.
The nine other absconding suspects are PK Halder’s mother Lilabati Halder, Purnima Rani Halder, Uttam Kumar Mistri, Amitabh Adhikari, Pritish Kumar Halder, Rajib Shob, Subrata Das, Ananga Mohan Roy, and Swapan Kumar Mistri.
Four other suspects are in prison. They are - Sukumar Mridha, his daughter Anindita Mridha, Shanka Bapari and Abantika Baral. All four stood in the dock at Wednesday’s hearing and declared themselves not guilty, calling for a fair trial.
Prior to the indictment decision, the judge dismissed their petitions to be dropped from the case and also scrapped the bail petitions by Sukumar and Anindita.
Halder is a former managing director of the International Leasing and Financial Services Limited or ILFSL and NRB Global Bank. He is accused of embezzling tens of billions of taka after taking control of four financial institutions, in which he placed his close associates in positions of power after purchasing large shares. These institutions lent billions to fake companies opened by Halder and his associates, according to the charges brought by the ACC, which traced at least 20 such firms.
The four financial institutions under Halder’s control were Peoples' Leasing and Financial Services (PLFSL), International Leasing and Financial Services (ILFSL), FAS Finance and Investment Limited, and Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company. Top officials of these institutions are among those prosecuted by the ACC.
The entities that Halder controlled have been struggling to survive for several years, hit heavily by default loans, a lack of capital and a failure to repay investors.
Despite rumours that Halder had fled to Canada, he was arrested in India's West Bengal in May.