a year ago

ACC seeks Interpol help for PK extradition

HC hears rule today

PK Halder
PK Halder

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The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has contacted the Interpol bureau in Delhi for the latter's help in extradition of PK Halder and his associates from India.

"The commission is following legal steps to get back PK Halder and his five accomplices who, we've learnt, were arrested by Indian enforcement directorate," says ACC acting secretary Sayeed Mahbub Khan.

Mr Halder and his associates, accused of a Tk 25-billion loan scam at home, were rounded up in North 24 Parganas in West Bengal on Friday night.

Mr Halder, the former managing director of NRB Global Bank, had fled the country.

Acting on the previously-issued Interpol red notice against him and the cases lodged, the ACC, with the help of Interpol's National Central Bureaus (NCBs) in Dhaka, has written to NCBs in New Delhi for his return.

Mr Khan disclosed this to the media during a briefing at ACC headquarters on Monday.

The ACC first sued Mr Halder on 08 January 2020 for illegally accumulating and laundering Tk 2.75 billion and managed an arrest warrant against the fugitive.

After filing the case and issuance of arrest warrant, it requested Interpol to declare a red corner notice against Mr Halder which took effect in January 2021.

"Since then," Mr Khan adds, "we've worked with international stakeholders to trace PK Halder as the huge amount of money he and his associates siphoned off to multiple destinations."

So far, the commission has found trace of money laundering by the Halder syndicate to countries like the US, Canada, India, Singapore and the UAE, he notes.

It will take more initiatives soon to bring back the arrestees in India and recover the money laundered by them, reiterates Mr Khan.

The commission will send letters shortly to Bangladesh High Commission in India, home ministry and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit of Bangladesh Bank for steps to help extradition of the arrestees.

It lodged 34 cases against Mr Halder and his accomplice. At least 13 were arrested for their complicity in the scam while 11 of them have already confessed to their crime.

The ACC also froze bank accounts of 83 individuals who are believed to be the close aides to Mr Halder.

Besides, it seized more than Tk 10 billion worth of properties owned by the syndicate members.

ACC sources say Mr Halder and his aides allegedly misappropriated over Tk 111 billion from at least four non-bank financial institutions, of which the commission has found evidence of embezzling Tk 35 billion.

SET PROCEDURE TO BRING HIM BACK: Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen says his government will do whatever necessary to bring back Mr Halder.

There is a set procedure to bring home a criminal from abroad and the government will duly follow the system.

Talking to the media after a meeting on Monday, Dr Momen said the government was not officially informed of Mr Halder's arrest yet.

"We're not officially informed of his arrest and I don't know whether home ministry is informed… But we can assure you that the government will take every effort to bring him back home."

Whether it will be difficult to bring home Mr Halder as cases are also filed against him in India, Dr Momen could not say anything about it.

But he says since Bangladesh and India are enjoying the best-ever bilateral ties, many difficulties can be overcome through mutual cooperation.

HC HEARS RULE TODAY: The state has initiated to hear a ruling, issued by the High Court one-and-half years ago, over government steps to locate Mr Halder and arrest him.

The rule is now pending with the High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo.

Deputy attorney general AKM Amin Uddin Manik, a state counsel concerned of this bench, on Monday told the court about Mr Halder's capture in India.

He prayed for holding a hearing on the rule issued by the court as a suo moto (a voluntary move).

In reply, the court said the rule would come in the Tuesday's cause-list for hearing.

ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan was present during Monday's hearing.

Expressing satisfaction over Mr Halder's arrest on charge of laundering a large sum, the bench said India should be thanked for the arrest.

Later, Mr Manik said, "The High Court earlier issued a rule over government steps to bring back PK Halder to the country and arrest him."

"We came to know from the media that PK Halder has been arrested in India. We brought the issue to the court's attention and prayed to hold a hearing on the rule."

"Then the court said our message is clear. We have zero tolerance against corruption and money laundering. No one will be spared, no matter who he is. We're serious about it," mentions Mr Manik.

Following a newspaper report, the HC bench headed by Justice Talukder on 19 November 2020 issued the suo-moto rule, asking the respondents to explain in 10 days as to why they should not be directed to take steps to get back Halder and arrest him.

It also asked the respondents what steps have been taken to this end. ACC chairman, home secretary and Dhaka's deputy commissioner were asked to comply with the queries.

Mr Halder was arrested along with an aide last Saturday in West Bengal in India. He was arrested by the Indian enforcement directorate that investigates money laundering and violations of foreign-exchange laws.

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