The High Court yesterday wanted to know what steps were taken to arrest Proshanta Kumar Halder, also known as PK Halder, and bring him back home from abroad.
Halder, former managing director of NRB Global Bank and Reliance Finance Limited, fled the country after allegedly siphoning off about Tk 10,200 crore from four non-banking financial institutions.
The court ordered the government authorities concerned and the Anti-Corruption Commission to explain in 10 days the steps taken to arrest and bring Halder back home.
It also issued a rule asking the authorities to show causes why their inaction and failure to arrest and bring Halder back home should not be declared illegal.
The HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Ahmed Sohel came up with the order and rule on a suo motu move following a report run by Bangla daily Bangladesh Pratidin on November 18 about Halder’s fleeing and embezzling a huge amount of public money, Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik told The Daily Star.
During the court proceedings, the HC bench observed that Halder fled the country after misappropriating thousands of crores of taka, but he was not arrested as if he was showing disregard for the state, which is not acceptable.
No one, including Halder, is above the law, the court said.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan was present during the HC proceedings.
On October 21, another HC bench directed the law enforcement authorities to arrest Halder immediately after his return home.
Allowing Halder to return home, the HC asked the inspector general of police and the immigration police to arrest him immediately after his arrival at Hazrat Shajalal International Airport.
The HC bench of Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar also asked the law enforcers to give Halder the scope to refund the money to the organisations from which he embezzled it.
The bench issued the order following a petition filed by International Leasing and Financial Services Limited (ILFSL) seeking its necessary directives in this regard.
Halder has earlier wanted to return home and refund the money.
In August this year, he wrote to ILFSL — one of the four NBFIs — saying he would return home and settle the liabilities with the firm if he was provided with proper security.
ILFSL’s counsel Mahfuzur Rahman Milon submitted the letter with an application to the HC on September 7 for its directive in this regard.
The same day, the HC ordered the firm to inform it when Halder would return home for settling his transactions and liabilities with the firm.
According to Canadian media reports, Halder is now staying in Toronto. He is director of P&L Hal Holding Inc, a Canadian corporation.
The three other NBFIs from which Halder allegedly embezzled crores of taka are People’s Leasing and Financial Services, FAS Finance and Investment, and Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company.
Halder came under the limelight during the anti-casino drives last year. The ACC opened an investigation into the involvement of 43 people, including Halder, in the illegal casino business.
The government on October 3 last year imposed a travel ban on him, but he managed to flee the country.