A Dhaka court has allowed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to interrogate four members of North South University's (NSU) board of trustees at the jail gate for a day in a corruption case.
The four trustees are--- MA Kashem, Benajir Ahmed, Rehana Rahman and Moahammad Shajahan.
Judge of the Dhaka Metropolitan Senior Special Judge's Court, KM Emrul Kayesh, on Monday passed the order after ACC Deputy Director Farid Ahmed Patwary, also the investigation officer of the case, produced them before it with a forwarding report.
In the forwarding report, the IO said that all the six accused of the case including these four were directly involved with the money laundering. So, they should be interrogated at the jail gate for collecting more information.
Upon hearing both the sides, the judge sent them to jail and allowed the ACC to interrogate them at the jail gate for one day.
Earlier on May 22, the High Court sent four trustees of the North South University under the police custody of the Shahbagh Police Station in Dhaka after rejecting their anticipatory bail petition filed in the corruption case.
The Officer in Charge of the Shahbagh Police Station was asked to place the accused trustees to the concerned lower court within 24 hours from the time of taking them in their custody.
The High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo passed the order after holding hearing on the petition filed by the trustees.
The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case on May 5 in 2022 with the ACC’s integrated office in Dhaka against six persons including these four trustees on charge of misappropriation of Tk 3.03 billion during purchasing land for the institution.
According to the case statement, bypassing the North South University Syndicate, University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Education, some members of the Board of Trustees of the university purchased 9096.88 decimal of land in the name of campus development paying extra charge of Tk 3.03 billion which was later embezzled.
Among the accused, university’s four trustees, MA Kashem, Benajir Ahmed, Rehana Rahman and Moahammad Shajahan, filed the anticipatory bail petition with the High Court on May 16.
The lawyers of the accused petitioners said in the hearing that the ACC has filed the case against the bail seekers on the basis of conjecture. There is no specific allegation of embezzlement against any of them.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said, “Attempts to launder money is also a crime under the Money Laundering Prevention Act. So it is logical to sue on the basis of assumption. The case was filed after the ACC's own investigation. Now the investigation may find evidence of more embezzlement.”
“Apart from that, the accused who sought bail have committed financial crimes in an organized manner. They have committed this crime by creating a cycle. In this case, there is no opportunity to see the crime of each accused in isolation or in person. They have turned non-profit educational institution into a commercial institution,” the ACC lawyer also argued.