The High Court on Tuesday gave the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) an ultimatum of three months to complete the investigation of 61 cases filed over money laundered from BASIC Bank through a loan scam.
The court also said the ACC will have to face legal action if they fail to do so within the stipulated time.
The anti-graft watchdog was asked to submit an affidavit to the court through the registrar of the High Court Division regarding the submission of the investigation report.
The High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat gave the order while rejecting the bail plea of the bank's former officer Mohammad Ali, accused in three cases of the BASIC Bank loan scam.
Earlier in August 2017, the Appellate Division headed by the chief justice had asked for the documents of the case, ordering the investigation to be completed quickly.
Then in May 2018, an HC bench ordered the investigators to appear in person and explain.
The HC had said the ACC was investigating in the wrong direction.
Last year, another HC bench again asked that the investigation be completed quickly.
But the ACC has not implemented any of the orders of the Appellate Division and the High Court. Not a single case has been investigated in the past seven years.
Barrister Tanzib-Ul-Alam, an expert in bank company law, said there is a provision to complete the investigation in these cases within 180 days. Subsequently, the time may be extended by another three months with the permission of the court.
If the investigation cannot be completed in accordance with law, the judicial court can change the investigating officer.
Barrister Tanzib mentioned that he has not seen any such action of the judicial court so far.
He said, if the HC wants, it can change the investigation agency and order the transfer of responsibility to another agency.
Also, it can form a commission to investigate these cases, the lawyer added.
On Tuesday, lawyer SM Abul Hossain represented Muhammad Ali in the court and senior advocate Khurshid Alam Khan appeared for the ACC.
Mohammad Ali, the Shantinagar branch manager of the bank is accused in 12 cases involving Tk424 crore.
According to a Bangladesh Bank inquiry, Tk4,500 crore was laundered from BASIC Bank through loan forgery between 2009 and 2013. This is the single biggest loan scam in Bangladesh's history.
Meanwhile, regarding BASIC Bank, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told The Business Standard that the commission is trying to recover the embezzled money and continuing the investigation at the same time, which is the reason behind the delay in submitting the charge sheets.
"The ACC is trying to trace where the money has been laundered. If it is not possible to find out where and how the money was transferred, the investigation will remain incomplete," he added.