Bacchu’s elusive arrest warrant

3 months ago 66

Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu, the former BASIC Bank chairman accused in 58 cases of embezzling Tk 2,265 crore, remains at large due to delay in issuing the arrest warrant by the court.

Bacchu is the main accused in the charge sheet of the cases submitted by the Anti-Corruption Corruption on June 12 with a Metropolitan Senior Special Judge's Court in Dhaka.

While the law enforcers can arrest Bacchu and the others accused in the charge sheet any time, they are not doing so as the applications for issuing the arrest warrant against him are pending with a lower court, said Khurshid Alam Khan, ACC's principal lawyer.

When a charge sheet is submitted to the court, there is an option to attach an application for issuing an arrest warrant.

Separate prayers have been placed before the court along with the charge sheets for issuing arrest warrants against Bacchu and others, said Mir Ahmed Ali Salam, public prosecutor for ACC at Metropolitan Senior Special Judge's Court in Dhaka.

The court is scheduled to hold the hearing of the cases from January 24 to 27.

"We are expecting the court will take cognisance of the charges and issue arrest warrants against them," he added.

About Tk 4,500 crore was siphoned out of the state-owned BASIC Bank between 2009 and 2013 when Bacchu chaired its board, according to a Bangladesh Bank investigation.

On July 14, 2014, the central bank forwarded the investigation report to the ACC with details on how the amount was embezzled from the bank through shell companies and dubious accounts.

Between September and November 2015, the ACC filed 59 cases implicating 146 persons over the embezzlement, from which the bank is yet to recover.

Bacchu, who was a member of parliament from Bagerhat-1 constituency with Jatiya Party's nomination in the 1986 general election, was not among the 146.

His name was included when the ACC submitted charge sheets in 58 cases with the trial court this year.

Between August and October, Bacchu sought anticipatory bail in all the cases. He maintains that he is innocent and was implicated without any material evidence.

On October 23, Judge Asaduzzaman of the court found flaws in the investigations and summoned the five investigation officers to appear before it for their explanations between November 19 and 26.

But the cases were not heard further as the judge took a sick leave for a few days before the court went for a month-long annual vacation on December 1.

None of Bacchu's petitions with the High Court for anticipatory bail has been moved before the court yet.

AM Masum, principal counsel for Bacchu, told The Daily Star on November 17 that his client is not communicating with him about moving the bail petitions.

Syed Mahsib Hossain, a filing lawyer for Bacchu, said his client has instructed not to move the bail petitions at this moment as he is indisposed to appear before the court.

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