• Sunday, Jan 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:55 pm

ACC approves charge sheet against former CJ Sinha, 10 others

  • Published at 03:49 pm December 4th, 2019
SK Sinha
File photo of former chief justice SK Sinha Collected

The anti-graft watchdog also decided to file a case against former minister Barrister Nazmul Huda

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has approved charge sheets against 11 people, including former chief justice SK Sinha, for their alleged involvement in embezzlement and money laundering.

The ACC also decided to file a case against former BNP minister, Barrister Nazmul Huda, for allegedly providing fake evidence for the graft case against SK Sinha.

ACC Director General Sayeed Mahbub Khan confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday.

Bangladesh National Alliance (BNA) Chairman Barrister Nazmul Huda had filed a case against SK Sinha, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power. The investigating officer in that case, Syed Iqbal Hossain, in his final report found the evidence provided by Nazmul Huda “intentionally false,” the ACC Director said.

The ACC decided to prosecute Huda for submitting false information, the ACC DG added.

“There was another filed case against SK Sinha for embezzling Tk4 crore from Farmers Bank. In this case, the ACC has approved charges against him and 10 others,” he said.

In the charge sheet, former chairman of the Farmers Bank Audit Committee,  Mahbubul Haque Chisti’s name was added and former senior vice president Ziauddin Ahmed’s name was dropped after his death, he added.

On July 10, ACC Director Syed Iqbal Hossain filed the case with the anti-graft watchdog’s Integrated District Office-1.

According to case details, Justice Sinha and 10 others have been accused of embezzling Tk4 crore from  Farmers Bank, which has since been rebranded as Padma Bank Ltd.

This is a first  in Bangladesh history, where a former chief justice is being charged in a case.

Some others accused are: former Farmers Bank managing director and CEO AKM Shameem, former first vice-presidents Swapan Kumar Roy and Shafiuddin Askaree, former senior executive vice-president Gazi Salauddin, and former vice-president M Lutful Haque.

Four others accused, who were clients of Farmers Bank, are Md Shahjahan, Niranjan Chandra Saha, his uncle Ranajit Chandra Saha, and Ranajit’s wife Santee Roy.

The ACC found that both Niranjan Chandra Saha and M Shahjahan deposited Tk2 crore each into Sinha’s personal account in Sonali Bank, transferred from their accounts at Farmers Bank’s Gulshan Branch, by separate pay orders in 2016.

The two had collected the money with a loan from the same bank, which was processed illegally and without following due process, with the help of the accused bank officials.

Ranajit was allegedly a personal secretary of Sinha’s, and Ranajit and Shahjahan are childhood friends, the ACC found in its investigation.

“What the accused committed is a scheduled offence under the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012,” the case statement says.

The ACC launched its investigation of Sinha four and a half months after he resigned from  his post of chief justice on November 10, 2017, amid major controversy over the 16th amendment of the constitution.

Conflict between Sinha and government

On September 30, 2017, five judges of the Appellate Division in a meeting with President Abdul Hamid, declared they could not continue working with then chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, because of “11 gross allegations of money laundering, financial scams, corruption, and moral degradation” against him.

Two weeks later, Sinha, the first non-Muslim chief justice of Bangladesh, left the country for Australia on October 13, 2017.

In November 2017, Justice Sinha resigned his post of chief justice following a row with the government, after the Supreme Court scrapped the 16th amendment to the constitution, stripping Parliament of its power to impeach apex court judges.

In September 2018, Bangladesh National Alliance (BNA) Chairman Barrister Nazmul Huda filed a case against the former chief justice with Shahbagh police station in Dhaka for allegedly demanding a bribe.

The plaintiff alleged that the former chief justice had changed the verdict of a case against him in spite of the fact that the case had earlier been disposed off by the High Court in his favour.

Sinha allegedly demanded Tk2 crore in cash, and half of a bank guarantee of Tk2.5 crore as a bribe from Huda to dispose off the case.