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22 January, 2020 03:16:25 AM


Freeze assets of 20 ILFSL directors, executives: HC

Directors barred from foreign travel; court seeks info on 15 other companies
Freeze assets of 20 ILFSL directors, executives: HC

The High Court has directed the government to seize all assets of shareholder-directors and top executives of International Leasing and Financial Services Limited (ILFSL) so that they cannot transfer any of their movable and immovable properties including stocks, cash and vehicles to any person or entity.

The order was given after against petitions by ILFSL depositors amid reports of massive irregularities at the non-banking financial institution.

The single bench of the HC comprised of Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar, it its order on Sunday, also imposed ban on foreign travel by all the shareholder-directors and top executives of the company till disposal of the petitions. The court has appointed Ibrahim Khaled, former deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank, as an independent director and chairman of the company.

According to reports, the ILFSL collected deposits and disbursed about Tk 5,000 crore loans to various companies.

But, the company is not repaying the depositors’ money even after the maturity of fixed-deposit.

HC bench gave the directives considering the greater interest of the common shareholders and depositors of the company, it observed.

The directors and executives of ILFSL mentioned in the orders are: MA Hashem (chairman), M Nurul Alam (director, also managing director of Shaw Wallace Bangladesh Ltd), MD Zahirul Alam, FCA (independent director), Nasim Anwar, FCA (independent director), Bashudeb Banerjee (independent director), Papia Banarjee (independent director), Momtaz Begum (independent director), Md Nowsherul Islam (independent director), Md Anwarul Kabir (independent director), Engineer Md Nuruzzaman (independent director), Muhammad Abul Hashem (independent director), Rashedul Haque (managing director of the company), PK Halder (director) and his relatives, namely, mother-Lilaboti Halder, brother-Pritish Kumar Halder, wife-Susmita Saha, Cousins- Amitav Adhikari, and Avijit Adhikari, Erfanuddin Ahmed (ex-managing director of Bank Asia Limited), and one Uzzal Kumar Nondi.

According to media reports, Proshanta Kumar Halder or PK Halder, a director of the ILFSL, has fled the country after creating a Tk 35 billion financial scam. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against him on 8 January for illegally amassing Tk 275 billion wealth illegally.

Loans amounting to Tk 1.7 billion had been taken from International Leasing and Financial Services in the names of Simtex, Rahman Chemicals, and Northern Jute, the companies taken over by PK Halder. The International Leasing is one of the four financial institutions which had allegedly been taken over by PK Haldar. In a Bangladesh Bank report it had been said that PK Halder himself was the beneficiary of that Tk 1.7 billion. Earlier, Haldar had also served as managing director of NRB Global Bank and Reliance Finance.

In its order, the HC bench directed the home secretary to collect details information of all the present shareholder-directors and the top executives of ILFSL and take necessary step immediately to seize their passport so that they cannot leave the country.

In December last year, the seven companies including MM Structural Limited, who deposited about Tk  8.5 crore to ILFSL, filed seven petitions with the HC seeking its directives as the company did not pay their money even after completing maturity of their fixed-deposit.

In response to their petitions, the HC bench, on December 9, issued a rule asking the respondents to explain their position within 3 weeks why this winding up application should not be admitted.

After hearing on the rule, the HC bench came up with the order and said the court did not pass any order to investigate against directors and file criminal cases against them at this stage in the greater interest of the shareholders.

The shareholder-directors and top executives of the company are running the company callously, in a very cavalier fashion without applying due diligence, jeopardising the interest of the depositors and general shareholders, the HC bench observed. The petitioners deserve obtaining an order of admission of this application towards winding up of the company, it said.

However, in case of the winding up of the company by a High Court order, as newspapers would publish that the company is on the verge of being liquidated, thousands of depositors would rush to the company demanding refund of their money, which would create chaos and may even result in the country’s economic collapse, the HC bench observed.

“Against the backdrop of Bangladesh Bank’s utter failure to regulate the affairs of this Financial Institution that led to the consequences of the present condition of the ILFSL, this court does not find it appropriate to rely entirely on the Bangladesh Bank to appoint the Administrator to oversee the daily activities of the company,” the HC bench said. 

“But, this court’s view and motto is to make the company healthy so that depositors can get their money back. It has directed the Bangladesh Bank to freeze all type of bank accounts of the shareholder-directors and top executives till disposal of the case,” the bench said.

The Bangladesh Bank governor has been directed to supply the personal and business bank statements of the last five years of the 20 people to the court appointed chairman within 15 days so that the new chairman can submit the statements before the court for its consideration, the order said.

It also asked the shareholder-directors and top executive to submit their tax return of last five years.

The HC bench also directed the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies And Firms to furnish detailed information of 13 companies including P and L Agro and Hall International, associated with directors of ILFSL and submit the reports before the court within 15 days.

The HC bench said the present chairman of the ILFSL, MA Hashem, would be removed from his post but shall remain in the board of directors of the company.

The court ordered the managing director of the company to send a letter to the Bangladesh Bank over the appointment of the new chairman of the company.

The new ILFSL chairman shall be paid a monthly honourium of Tk 3 lakh with well furnished independent office room, the court said in its order.

The HC bench also fixed February 2 for further order over the matter.



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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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