In the 10 months of this year till the end of 1 November, the Chattogram Artha Rin Adalat issued arrest warrants against 1,400 loan defaulters, but the police are yet to arrest most of the accused.
This failure of the police is creating case backlogs in the courts and thwarting the purpose of the establishment of a special court.
Police, however, claim they have been looking for, but have not succeeded in finding the defaulters.
The issue came up in an observation by Chattogram Artha Rin Adalat on Monday. Justice Mujahidur Rahman of the court again issued special instructions to the Chattogram police commissioner on the arrest of loan defaulters of the district.
The court directive said, "The court has observed that the arrest warrants issued by the Artha Rin Adalat against the top defaulters were not being implemented in time. Due to this, the cases that have been filed are not going to be disposed of in time. At the same time, a case backlog is being created in the court and important working hours are being wasted."
"Therefore, the Chattogram metropolitan police commissioner is directed to arrest the loan defaulters. The Artha Rin Adalat is issuing this order as per Section 35 of the law," added the court directive.
According to the Chattogram Artha Rin Adalat, in the 10 months from 19 January to 1 November this year, the court issued arrest warrants in 1,383 cases. The Chattogram Metropolitan Police and the district police were asked to arrest the defaulters. But in about 80% of the cases, the police failed to or did not arrest the accused.
Explaining the reason behind the failure, Chattogram Metropolitan Police Commissioner Saleh Mohammad Tanvir told TBS, "The defaulters flee before the police arrive to arrest them. Moreover, in many cases, the addresses provided by the accused are incorrect."
The police commissioner also alleged that "the police face various kinds of pressure in arresting those accused in the court-registered (CR) cases.
Banks indifferent to handling loan defaulters' cases
In 2008, the CDA branch of Pubali Bank filed a case against Sajil Steel Industry Limited, a Chattogram-based company, over its defaulting on a Tk9,23,15,026 loan. On 12 May 2009, the court directed the accused to repay the amount within 60 days. After the company failed to repay, the court issued warrants against the company officials on 3 May this year.
However, as per decision of the 130th meeting of the Board of Directors of Pubali Bank Limited on 15 September, the interest of Sajil Steel Industry Limited was waived and it was given an opportunity to pay Tk87,201,092 in 23 three-monthly installments.
But the Artha Rin Adalat said the bank has no scope of waiving interest after a warrant has been issued against the accused.
Urging the Bangladesh Bank to increase surveillance, the Adalat said, "Such flexibility and indifference of banks toward recovering defaulted loans has put the banking sector in a precarious position. It is weakening the foundations of the national economy. Bangladesh Bank needs to increase its surveillance in this regard."