ACC to summon Modasser
Tanvir admits to taking Tk 2,600cr in ‘loan’ from Sonali BankAhammad Foyez
The Anti-Corruption Commission on Sunday said it would interrogate the prime minister’s health affairs adviser, Syed Modasser Ali, in connection with the alleged misappropriation of around Tk 3,547 crore by Hallmark Group from the Ruposhi Bangla hotel branch of Sonali Bank.
ACC commissioner Badiuzzaman told reporters at his office that an inquiry team of the commission would quiz government high officials at any level, including health adviser Syed Modasser Ali.
‘The commission will initiate actions if evidences are found against them,’ he said adding that the members of Sonali Bank board of directors could also be summoned for questioning, if necessary.
Badiuzzamn said that the inquiry team was now questioning the suspected officials of Sonali Bank and Hallmark Group. After finishing the present round of inquiry, he said, the team would summon high officials of the government, including Modasser, an eye specialist by profession.
Emerging from the ACC headquarters after being interrogated, Hallmark Group managing director Tanvir Mahmud told reporters that Modasser used to visit his company’s projects on different occasions but he (Modasser) was not involved with the group.
Tanvir said he had drawn Tk 2,600 crore from Sonali Bank ‘in ‘loan in accordance with banking law’.
Although he claimed he did not have any fake companies but failed to mention the actual number of companies owned by him. ‘I have at least 70 to 80 companies’, he told a reporter.
The commission on Sunday interrogated three top bosses of Hallmark Group and three of DN Sports Limited over their alleged involvement in the biggest financial scandal in the country’s banking sector in recent times.
DN Sports is suspected to have embezzled Tk 33.25 crore from the Sonali Bank branch at Ruposhi Bangla hotel.
The people interrogated on Sunday were Hallmark Group managing director Tanvir Mahmud, his wife and chairman of the group Jesmin Islam and the group’s general manager Tushar Ahmed, DN Sports Limited chairman Motaharuddin Chowdhury, managing director Shafiqur Rahman John, also the son-in-law of Motaharuddin, and director Fahmida Akhter Chowdhury, the wife of Shafiqur Rahman.
ACC’s deputy director Mir Joynul Abedin Shibli interrogated DN Sports bosses for three hours from 10:30am and Hallmark officials for two hours from 2:30pm at the commission’s headquarters.
On August 29, Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla hotel branch official Saidur Rahman had said Modasser had frequented the office of the branch’s general manager since 2009.
The commission will question today Sonali Bank foreign exchange department deputy managing directors Kazi Fakhrul Islam and Mainul Haque.
The anti-graft watchdog will also interrogate Sonali Bank’s former managing director Humayun Kabir on September 4, an ACC official said.
The commission has already interrogated 22 Sonali Bank officers, seven Hallmark Group and three DN Sports Limited bosses over their alleged involvement in the scandal.
The Sonali Bank officials who have been interrogated, include its general managers Noni Gopal Nath, Mir Mohidur Rahman, Hedayet Ullah, Sabita Seraj, HM Ghulam Nabi Manik, suspended Mihir Chandra Majumder, suspended Ashraf Ali Patwari, suspended Rupashi Bangla branch manager AKM Azizur Rahman, Ruposhi Bangla branch officers suspended Saidur Rahman, suspended Ujjal Kishore Dhar, suspended Wakil Uddin Ahmed, suspended Wahid Uddin Ahmed, Saiful Hasan, Abdul Matin and Wahiduzzman.
Other officials of Hallmark Group, who have been interrogated by the ACC, are Anwar Spinning Mills managing director Jahangir Alam, Century International Ltd managing director Ziaur Rahman, Max Spinning Mills managing director Mir Zakaria and Star Spinning Mills managing director Abdul Basher.
On August 30, the Sonali Bank Limited had suspended 17 of its officials for their suspected links to the scam.
On August 19, the Bangladesh Bank asked Sonali Bank to suspend 31 of its officials by August 30 for their alleged involvement in the illegal lending of Tk 3,547 crore to little-known Hallmark Group and five other companies.
A BB letter sent to the managing director and chief executive officer of Sonali Bank said that Saiful Shamsul Alam and Co, a chartered accountancy firm, had recently completed a functional audit of the illegal lending by the state-owned bank in which 32 of its officials were found to have been involved.
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