Bank officials fear a recurrence of such criminal activities if there is no exemplary punishment
Exim Bank's Managing Director (MD) Md Haider Ali Mia and Additional MD Md Firoz Hossain were allegedly tortured by two Sikder Group directors after they refused to appraise the laters' mortgaged property value at a higher level for a loan.
The criminal activities which were perpetrated against the Exim Bank officials might be committed against other bank officials as well, if there is no exemplary punishment for the perpetrators, said bankers and experts.
Southeast Bank Managing Director M Kamal Hossain said: “We are all frightened right now.”
“The country’s banking sector is facing an image crisis owing to a large number of defaulted loans and various scams. But the kind of things that happened with the Exim bank top officials would destroy the sector,” he remarked.
These types of criminal activities will become frequent if there is no exemplary punishment, warned Kamal.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, former deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank Khondkar Ibrahim Khaled said people only dare to commit such crimes due to the assurance of political shelter.
If these criminal activities are not stopped now, the situation will worsen in the future, he added.
These criminal activities are occurring in the banking sector for the same reason that the chairman of Basic Bank has not been arrested yet, commented Khaled.
“The criminal activities will stop when the government starts working for the people,” he further added.
The Association of Bankers Bangladesh former chairman Syed Mahbubur Rahman said this kind of torture reveals the lawlessness and it can’t go on, adding that they will seek the assistance of the state in this regard.
These activities have frightened the bankers, said Mahbubur, also the managing director of Mutual Trust Bank.
He hoped that the government and the central bank would take immediate action to put an end to this kind of criminal behaviour.
“It represents the overall situation of the country,” commented Brac Bank Chairman Ahsan H. Mansur.
“Where has the politics of the country gone that we are indulging in such activities?” he questioned.
“Where is the law and order in the country? It took a long time to file this case,” commented Mansur, who is also the executive director of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh.
The incident came to light many days after it occurred which proves that the two officials of Exim Bank were pressured by the offenders to keep under a lid, he stated.
The criminal activities are happening because our politics, society, rule and law have already collapsed, Mansur said expressing his frustration.
When contacted by Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday, Exim Bank Additional Managing Director Md Firoz Hossain declined to comment on this issue.
The torture and attempted murder
Two directors of Sikder Group allegedly tortured and attempted to murder Exim Bank's MD Md Haider Ali Mia and Additional MD Md Firoz Hossain by shooting at them, after they refused to appraise the formers’ mortgaged property’s value at a higher level for a loan.
The duo was allegedly held against their will and beaten at a house in Dhaka’s Banani area, before they were shot at, by Sikder Group Managing Director Ron Haque Sikder and his brother Dipu Haque Sikder on May 7, according to a case statement.
It said Ron and Dipu also forced the Exim Bank officials to sign on a blank paper.
The bank authorities filed the case at Gulshan police station on behalf of Haider Ali over the incident, Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Gulshan Division Deputy Commissioner (DC) Sujit Kumar Chakrabarty confirmed to Dhaka Tribune.
Both Ron and Dipu—sons of Sikder Group Founder and Chairman Zainul Haque Sikder—are on the run since the May 7 incident, said Gulshan police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Md Kamruzzaman.
He said the case was filed on May 19. Both DC Sujit and OC Kamruzzaman said that efforts are on to arrest the two accused.