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Fund embezzlement case: HC to resume hearing on bail petitions of 4 NSU trustees today

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 21st May, 2022 08:12:14 PM
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Fund embezzlement case: HC to resume hearing on bail petitions of 4 NSU trustees today
From left: NSU trustees Azim Uddin Ahmed, MA Kashem, Rehana Rahman, Mohammed Shajahan and Benajir Ahmed

The High Court will resume on Sunday hearing on petitions filed by four trustees of the North South University (NSU) seeking anticipatory bail in a graft case involving embezzlement of fund and money laundering.

A division bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo will hold the hearing on the bail petitions for the second day.

When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, Barrister Mizan Sayeed, one of the counsels for bail petitioners, prayed for adjournment.

He told the court that the clients will submit supplementary petitions equipped with more grounds for their bails.

On May 5, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) sued NSU trustee board Chairman Azim Uddin Ahmed, members Benajir Ahmed, MA Kashem, Rehana Rahman and Mohammed Shajahan, and Ashaloy Housing and Developers Ltd Managing Director Amin Md Hilaly for embezzling Tk 303.82 crore of the university.

The accused misappropriated the money in the name of purchasing 9,096.88 decimals of land in Rupganj of Narayanganj in connivance with one another.   

Earlier, the ACC initiated investigation into the trustees following a complaint filed by Dr Sufi Sagar Sams, Adviser of the Protection for Legal and Human Rights Foundation.

Out of six accused, four members of the Trustee Board of the NSU moved to the HC seeking anticipatory bail to avoid arrest in connection with the case.

The HC started hearing on the bail petitions on Wednesday and listened to arguments of the lawyers of the petitioners, counsel of ACC and Attorney General.

Appearing for the petitioners, Barrister Ajmalul Hossain QC, Barrister Fida M Kamal and AF Hassan Arif said the clients need anticipatory bail to avoid arrest and police harassment.

ACC counsel Khurshid Alam Khan opposed bail on the ground that the trustees committed organised crimes by embezzling and laundering the funds. Besides, the trustees also committed cognizable offences which are not bailable.

Citing case dossier, he said the accused made the transactions for the land from 2014 to 2016. The trustees spent Tk 500 crore of the university through overvaluation of the land. They paid Tk 303, 82,13,497 cr more than the actual price.

Later, land owner Amin Md Hilaly paid back the money to the trustee members personally as bribes, he argued.

The NSU trustees made the transaction bypassing the syndicate, University Grants Commission and the Ministry of Education. They are facing more allegations and investigations into those are underway.

Attorney General AM Amin Uddin opposed the bail petition saying the NSU trustee members have embezzled university fund and committed organised crimes.

“The petitioners’ lawyers referred to a previous petition which was filed over the purchase of 200 bighas of land at Joydebpur in Gazipur for NSU. That petition has nothing to do with the instant case and petitioners will not benefit from it,” he said.

Hearing about Joydebpur lands, the HC was astonished. Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo said “What do they (trustees) do with so many bighas of land?”

Talking to reporters, Dr Sufi Sagar Sams said “Main accused NSU trustee board Chairman Azim Uddin Ahmed might have fled the country. Four others are trying to obtain bail on the pretext of illness. If trustees get bail, they will also go abroad to escape arrest.”