The High Court on Thursday said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) cleared the way for Prashanta Kumar Halder alias PK Halder to flee abroad by sending a letter regarding a ban on his leaving the country to the immigration authorities 13 hours after his departure through Benapole land port.
"It is very surprising that it took 13 hours to send a notice to the immigration headquarters in Malibagh from the ACC headquarters located in Segunbagicha. This is nothing but the negligence on the part of the ACC," commented the bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman while hearing a bail plea of an accused detainee for his link with PK Halder.
Lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan stood for the ACC while Deputy Attorney General Sarwar Hossain Bappi represented the state in the hearing.
On 1 March, the immigration police told the HC that PK Halder left the country India through Benapole land port not through the Shahjalal International Airport at 3:38 pm on 23 October 2019.
According to the immigration police, on 22 October, 2019, the ACC sent a notice to the immigration police to prevent PK Halder from leaving the country. The police received the notice from the ACC at 4.30 pm on 23 October. The notice was delivered to all the branches of the immigration police at 5:47 pm the same day. But, PK Halder left the country two hours and nine minutes before they received it.
On 15 February this year, the HC inquired how PK Halder fled the country although a travel ban had been imposed on him.
Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Mohi Uddin Shamim's bench passed the order, seeking a list of officers who were on duty at the immigration office of airport and the ACC when PK Halder fled abroad. Besides, the court ordered the Bangladesh Bank to submit by 15 March the full list of employees working in the three departments since 2008.
Earlier on 21 January, the High Court directed the Bangladesh Bank to provide the names, titles, and addresses of the officials who were in charge of the three departments from 2008 to 2020.
The central bank asked for time to prepare the list of employees who worked in 2008 and 2009 as their information were registered manually back then.
It also said an investigation was going on to find out about the fraud and money laundering.
On 19 November 2020, the High Court took suo moto action and sought information on the steps taken to bring back and arrest Halder after a report titled "The ACC will seek the Interpol's help in apprehending PK Halder" was published in a national daily on the previous day.
PK Halder, accused of laundering around Tk3,500 crore, is now staying in Canada as he has dual citizenship of Canada and Bangladesh.