A Kolkata court on Tuesday put Prashant Kumar Halder, widely known as PK Halder who allegedly embezzled and laundered Tk11,000 crore from Bangladesh, on a 10-day remand, as neighbouring India hints his extradition may take time.
"PK Halder will be sent back to Bangladesh following the legal procedure. The extradition may take time," said Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami.
Meanwhile, the High Court on Tuesday set 12 June for the hearing of a rule on bringing back the scamster.
PK Halder had been in hiding for several years until he got arrested in India's West Bengal on 14 May. According to India's Financial Intelligence Unit, PK Halder had been living there using a fake identity.
Subsequently, India's Enforcement Directorate (ED) got the con kingpin in a three-day remand, as India said PK Halder has syphoned off around Tk300 crore from Bangladesh to the neighbouring country.
Following the arrest, authorities in Bangladesh started talking about bringing him back under existing extradition arrangements between the two neighbours.
However, Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami told journalists in Dhaka on Tuesday that legal procedures would have to be completed before the extradition.
"Based on the information we have, Bangladesh will be notified at some point. You need to understand that this is not a Christmas card exchange. Let the legal process in such cases be completed," he said after emerging from a meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen at the foreign ministry.
The high commissioner said Dhaka and Delhi are working on this, adding he had talked to the foreign secretary about it.
He said Bangladesh has already provided information to the concerned agencies of India about the scamster and Indian authorities are now verifying those.
In a separate development on Tuesday, the HC while setting the new date for the hearing of the rule issued one and half years ago said, "We will issue such an order that PK Halder and other money launderers will not be able to live in peace anywhere in the world."
Referring to the state and the national graft buster, the HC said, "Just tell us their locations. We will issue order to take necessary action."
West Bengal connections?
During a 14-day remand plea, India's Enforcement Directorate told the Kolkata court that they gleaned information from PK Halder that he owns huge assets in India – worth at least Rs150 crore.
The directorate lawyers also briefed the court on the progress of PK Halder's case.
According to the directorate, PK Halder amassed the wealth in several states of India with the help of his lawyer Sukumar Mridha.
The directorate officials said the scamster had not yet provided any information on whether any politician of the province was involved in the money laundering.
According to sources at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the agency has so far filed 36 cases against Halder over embezzlement of around Tk2,800 crore from four organisations. Charge sheets of three cases have been prepared so far, which will be submitted soon.
According to the sources, at least 15 more cases could be filed soon over laundering Tk1,000 crore.
Enquiries into various other charges are still ongoing. Once all the enquiries end, the number of cases against Halder and his accomplices may exceed 100.
Earlier this year, the ACC filed the charge sheet in a case against PK Halder for embezzling Tk426 crore by and laundering 11.7 million Canadian dollars to Canada.