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HC warns of legal action if ACC fails to finish Basic Bank probe in three months

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The High Court on Tuesday ordered the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to complete the investigation of all 56 cases filed over the Basic Bank scam and submit a report to it within three months. Otherwise, the HC warned, appropriate legal action would be taken against the anti-graft body.

The High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat passed the direction while delivering a verdict on three bail petitions filed by accused Mohammad Ali, former manager of Basic Bank's Shantinagar branch, in as many cases filed in connection with the scam.

The court also discharged the rulings issued over the bail of Mohammad Ali.

Lawyer Abul Hossain appeared in court during the hearing on behalf of the accused, while lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan stood for the ACC and Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik for the state.

More than seven years have already passed, but the Anti-Corruption Commission is yet to submit charge sheets (to the lower court) in the cases filed for Basic Bank loan scams. As a result, the trials in the cases could not be completed.

According to a recent report, the ACC has been investigating the cases filed in connection with the scam for a long time. One of the reasons for the delay in the investigation process of the cases is that the location of the embezzled money in the cases was concealed by withdrawing money entirely in cash.

"Due to the same, identification of the key witnesses in the cases and taking their statements have become difficult. Not all witnesses are responding as expected. There are a lot of evidences in the cases and it is time-consuming to identify all the actual evidences from the huge amount of bank documents. Besides, the process of identifying the real accused is also very complicated in these cases," also read the report.

According to a Bangladesh Bank inquiry, around Tk 45.0 billion was siphoned off Basic Bank between 2009 and 2013, when Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu chaired the board of the bank.

A total of 56 cases were filed over the Basic Bank scams. But the ACC could not submit a charge sheet in any of the cases in the last seven years.

Mohammad Ali, an accused in all 12 cases, has been in jail since September 6, 2019, said his lawyer Abul Hossain.

Three cases in which Mohammad Ali sought bail from the HC were filed on charges of embezzling Tk 700 million, 300 million, and 780 million, respectively, with the Ramna Police Station.

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