Shahina Akhter, a garment industry worker in the EPZ area of Chattogram, saved Tk2,000 every month for 10 years for her daughter's marriage.
She deposited Tk2.40 lakh to Prime Star Cooperative, expecting a healthy return when her scheme term matured.
Five months into the maturity of the deposit scheme, she is yet to receive the promised amount with dividends.
Two months ago, the company shut their offices and the owners fled. Now, Shahina Akhter is worried whether she will get her money back at all.
The owners of Prime Star Cooperative, including its chairman Maksudur Rahman and his cohorts, fled with a total of Tk200 crore of some 2,500 workers like Shahina Akhter.
Customers have been protesting in front of the company's office every day to get the money back and filed some 13 cases against the company owners.
On 22 July, officials of the company went into hiding after closing the office.
In 2001, Prime Star Cooperative Society started operating in the EPZ area. The main office of the company is on the second floor of Chowdhury Market in that area. They have another office at the EPZ Newmooring Road.
Besides, some twelve years ago, they also established another branch office on Kaptai road in Kazi Bazar area in Chandgaon.
For the last one-and-a-half months, the victims have been trying to contact the company's chairman and other officials, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, Chattogram District Cooperative Office has appointed Inspector Sajjad Hossain as the liquidator to take over the accounts of the organisation.
The district cooperative officer Murad Ahmed told The Business Standard, "Prime Star Cooperative was in trouble as all the customers demanded their money back at the same time. We have also written to the banks to freeze their accounts."
He also said a liquidator has been appointed and they are trying to contact the company officials.
"Prime Star Cooperative Society authorities have been given a letter to explain everything. They have not responded yet. Meanwhile, we have also written letters to each land office so that they cannot sell their immovable properties," he added.
According to the information of the District Cooperative Office, the company owes about Tk200 crore to the customers.
Suman, a garment worker, said, "My wife Rozina Begum and I both work in a garments factory. Hoping to get double dividends in 10 years, I made two fixed deposits, each worth one lakh. I am supposed to get Tk4 lakhs at the end of the term but now I am worried about getting the principal amount."
Company's Chairman Maksudur Rahman, who is a resident of Banshkhali Upazila of Chattogram, could not be reached over phone despite several attempts.
Confirming the cases, Officer-in-charge (Investigation) of the EPZ police station Abul Bashar told The Business Standard, "Evidence of money embezzlement was found in the preliminary investigation. A report has been submitted to the court in this regard."
Earlier, Rupsa Cooperative Multipurpose embezzled Tk4,000 crore of 1.5 lakh garment workers in the city's export processing zone (EPZ) area in 2020.