The trial has finally begun in the first among three dozen cases over financial crimes against Prashanta Kumar Halder – a fugitive banker and businessman who is also known as PK Halder.
On Thursday, Dhaka Special Judge's Court-10 framed charges against Halder and 13 others in a case filed for laundering Tk80 crore to Canada and amassing wealth worth Tk426 crore illegally.
PK Halder and his five associates are currently imprisoned in India after being arrested by Enforcement Directorate, a central intelligence agency responsible for fighting economic crime, in West Bengal in May this year.
Judge Mohammad Nazrul Islam also set 22 September for taking testimony in the case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The other accused in the case are – Lilabati Halder, mother of PK Halder, Poornima Rani Halder, Uttam Kumar Mistry, Amitabh Adhikari, Pritish Kumar Halder, Rajiv Som, Subrata Das, Anang Mohan Roy, Swapan Kumar Mistry, Avantika Baral, Shankh Bepari, Sukumar Mridha and Anindita Mridha, daughter of PK Halder.
Among them, Avantika, Shankha, Sukumar and Anindita are in jail and pleaded not guilty during the charge framing.
The court dismissed the petitions submitted for discharging the four from the charges of the case.
According to case dockets, PK Halder took Tk3,500 crore from four financial institutions in Bangladesh. Later, as the money was not returned, the institutions faced difficulties in returning the money to their customers.
The four institutions are – International Leasing and Financial Services, People's Leasing and Financial Services, FAS Finance and Investment Limited and Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company (BIFC).
ACC lawyer Mir Ahmed Ali Salam told journalists that in the case, PK Halder and nine other accused were shown as fugitives in the charge sheet and the charges were framed in their absence.
The anti-graft watchdog submitted the charge sheet against the 14 accused in the court in February this year. The hearing on charge framing began on 29 August.