Their details were sought after allegations of their involvement in defrauding a host of NBFIs of at least Tk 3,500 crore by rogue banker PK Halder
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) on Monday asked for bank accounts and other financial information of SK Sur Chowdhury, a former deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank, and Md Shah Alam, its executive director, as well as their spouses.
Their details were sought in a letter issued by the NBR's central intelligence cell (CIC) after allegations of their involvement in defrauding a host of non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) of at least Tk 3,500 crore by rogue banker Proshanta Kumar Halder, also known as PK Halder.
The CIC asked banks and NBFIs to provide the information, including details of current accounts, savings accounts, termloan accounts, foreign currency accounts, credit card, locker, savings and investment schemes, beneficiary owners’ accounts or any other account, including dormant ones, maintained by Chowdhury and his wife Suparna Sur Chowdhury; Alam and his two wives Shaheen Akhter Shalley and Nasrin Begumwithin seven working days.
The NBR initiated the move following a confessional statement given by Rashedul Haque, former managing director of International Leasing and Financial Services (ILFSL), before a Dhaka court on February 3.
Md Shah Alam was the head of the Department of Financial Institutions and Markets (DFIM), the branch of the central bank responsible for keeping watch on the NBFIs.
But he had allegedly teamed up Halder, a former MD of NRB Global Bank and Reliance Finance, such that all the irregularities and corruption that the latter was indulging in flew under the radar of the regulator.
On January 24, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) arrested Haque, an accused in five cases of fraud connected to ILFSL.
Both Alam and SK Sur Chowdhury were on the payroll of Halder and they helped to hide the irregularities and corruption at ILFSL, People’s Leasing and Financial Services, Reliance Finance and FAS Finance and Investment, as per Haque’s confessional statement.
Last month, the High Court imposed a travel ban on Chowdhury, who has no connections with the BB after his tenure as an adviser had ended last year.
It was during Alam’s tenure as the chief of the DFIM since December 2017 that the health of about one-third of the 33 NBFIs has gone south.
The financial health of at least 10 NBFIs including ILFSL, Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company, Fareast Finance & Investment, Reliance Finance, Prime Finance and Investment, and FAS Finance & Investment is precarious, as per the BB data.
The default loans at the NBFIs soared 15 per cent to Tk 10,244.7 crore at the end of September last year.
Subsequently, earlier this month, the central bank removed Alam from the department, where he has been since October 2013, first as the general manager and then as its head.
BB ED Mohd. Humayun Kabir has been appointed in his place.
Alam, who joined the central bank as an assistant director in 1988 after acquiring his Masters degree in economics from Chittagong University, will be dispatched to a less consequential department.
Chowdhury and Alam could not reached for comment at the time of filing the report.