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SC stays its order directing BB to return Tk 615.55 crore to 11 businesses
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed its own order that earlier directed the Bangladesh Bank to return Tk 615.55 crore extorted by the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence in 2007 and 2008 to 10 businesses and a merchant.
A seven-judge bench chaired by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain also accepted for hearing BB’s 11 petitions seeking to review its verdict asking the central bank to return the money.
The bench also asked BB lawyer M Amirul Islam to submit to it the grounds for which it sought review of the verdict. The court also kept in its records the petitions filed by 11 businesses seeking contempt proceedings against BB for not to return the money to them in 90 days as directed by the court in a verdict delivered on March 16, 2017.
On August 29, 2017, BB filed the petitions seeking review of a verdict the Appellate Division delivered on March 16, 2017 upholding the High Court Division’s directive to the BB to refund the money to the 11 businessmen within 90 days and declared the process of extraction of the money by DGFI from 11 business concerns.
The directives require BB to return Tk 189 crore to East West Property Ltd, Tk 52 crore to Meghna Cement, Tk 15 crore to Bashundhara Paper Mills, Tk 60 crore to S Alam Steels Mills Ltd, Tk 237.65 crore to Consolidated Tea and Lands Bangladesh Ltd, Tk 1.9 crore to Unique Eastern Pvt Ltd, Tk 70 lakh to Unique Ceramics Industries Pvt Ltd, Tk 17.55 crore to Unique Hotel and Resort, Tk 65 lakh to Unique Group managing director Mohad Noor Ali, Tk 7.10 crore to Borak Real Estate and Tk 35 crore to Eastern Housing Limited.
On March 16, 2017, in an 89-page verdict the Appellate Division censured the DGFI for its interference with the executive branch at different times.
In the verdict the Appellate Division said, ‘Though DGFI denied its role in the extortion of the money, the documents filed by the Bangladesh Bank clearly show that the money have been collected by Md Afzal Naser Bhuiyan, Lt Col for DGFI. He sent the money on the letterhead of DGFI to the Bangladesh Bank for taking action by the governor.’
The verdict said that neither the DGFI nor any other intelligence agency had any right or authority to recover such money as tax or VAT.
‘Article 83 of the Constitution totally prohibits such process of realising any money other than as act of Parliament stipulates,’ it said.