The Criminal Investigation Department is going to sue Dhamaka since it has traced laundering of nearly Tk100 crore by the e-commerce platform.
A large amount of the money has been diverted to the accounts of Invariant Telecom and Microtrade Food & Beverage Ltd, sister concerns of the Microtrade Group that owns Dhamaka. The rest has been siphoned off to the US and other countries, sources in the CID said.
The financial scam was unearthed in a primary investigation into the business operation of Dhamaka, said Humayun Kabir, special superintendent of the Financial Crime Unit at the CID.
He, however, refused to disclose who will be accused of the scam.
According to CID sources, Dhamaka has been cheating thousands of customers with lucrative offers, such as "Double Taka Vouchers" and "Signature Cards" and hefty discounts. The money collected in advance payments through fraudulent means has been siphoned out of the country, the sources said.
Another CID official associated with the case said wishing anonymity that the case would be filed against Dhamaka Shopping Managing Director S MD Jashimuddin Chisty, also founder and managing director of Microtrade Group. Dhamaka Chief Operating Officer Sirazul Islam Rana and Chairman Moztaba Ali may also be named as accused.
Chisty is currently staying in the US.
Between December 2020 and August 2021, around Tk600 crore was transacted from the bank accounts of Dhamaka Shopping. After the freezing of its bank accounts in July, the company has only Tk93,000 left in the accounts.
Dhamaka, which started its journey in November last year, received a huge amount in advance from customers, luring them with 40-50% discounts on various products including bikes – like Evaly.
The discounts offered on bikes and cars have been reduced to 10%.
Following a report published on 22 June by The Business Standard based on a report of the central bank on Evaly, the CID started an investigation into the activities of 14 e-commerce companies in the country. Its preliminary investigation dug out various irregularities committed by at least five companies, including Dhamaka and Alesha Mart.
The agency also found that some business entities had assisted the companies in their illegal activities.
The CID is now looking into the operations of Evaly, Alesha Mart, E-orange, Sirajganj Shop, Aladiner Prodip, Boom Boom, Adyen Mart, Needs, Qcoom, Dalal Plus and Bajaj Collection.
A number of banks, including Dhaka Bank, Bank Asia and Brac Bank, suspended the use of their debit, credit and prepaid cards for online transactions with 10 e-commerce companies.
When asked about the filing of a case over money laundering, Sirajul Islam Rana, chief operating officer of DhamakaShopping.com, on Monday said, "I do not have this information. Our financial transactions are being scrutinized by several government organisations.
"The commerce ministry has already sent a letter seeking information about our debts and product delivery. We will give a satisfactory response within the stipulated time. Until the ongoing issues are resolved, our bank accounts will remain frozen. That is why we were unable to make refunds and deliver products from 24 August as announced earlier."