Former BASIC Bank chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu on Thursday told ACC sleuths that if there were any irregularities in extending loans worth about Tk 4,500 crore during his tenure it was by mistake.
Bacchu, the main suspect in the huge loan scam, said all this during seven-hour grilling by the Anti-Corruption Commission’s interrogators.
The interrogation took place at the ACC’s interrogation cell.
Bacchu’s interrogations for the 4th time took place after a break he enjoyed for two months since January 8, at his own request.
‘No loan was approved by me alone,’ he said adding, the board of directors approved the loans following recommendations from the bank’s management led the former managing director Fakhrul Islam.’
What he narrated in self defence was told to New Age by one of the five ACC sleuths who grilled Bacchu on Thursday.
The ACC sleuth said Bacchu was silent for at least five minutes when the interrogators pointed out to him that he should take responsibility of the ‘mistakes’ that were committed when he led the BASIC Bank’s board.
At one stage, Bacchu requested his interrogators led director Sayed Iqbal Hossain not to ask him further questions saying he was feeling ‘sick’.
Interrogators said that Bacchu took at least two minutes to reply to each question he was asked to reply to.
They said that Bacchu played deaf and dumb asked about his political line.
Interrogators said that on Thursday they recorded Bacchu’s statements relating to four defalcation cases.
They said that they recorded Bacchu’s statements relating to his involvement with 24 other defalcation cases during the interrogations he faced on three previous occasions.
In 2015, they said a total of 56 cases were filed by the ACC over a series of defalcations that made the once profit earning BASIC Bank virtually bankrupt.
Until now, the ACC kept Bacchu, the principal suspect in the series of defalcations, out of the purview of the 61 cases it filed since 2015 over the staggering bank swindling.
In dapper suit, Bacchu left the interrogation cell in great haste pushing aside waiting reporters with help from his personal security.
On December 19, Bacchu’s prayed to the ACC to further delay his interrogations.
On December 4, when ACC sleuths interrogated Bacchu for the first time, he tried to shift the blame of the entire series of BASIC Bank swindling on its former managing director Fakhrul Islam.
Asked by interrogators to explain how the bank management could extend loans without his approval, Bacchu told them that he and the other members of the board just endorsed the reports placed by the management, especially the MD.
In 2015, ACC filed 56 cases over a series of embezzlements from the BASIC Bank to the tune of around Tk 2,000 crore that took place between 2009 and 2014 when Bacchu was the chairman of its board.
During the same period about Tk 4,500 crore was swindled from the BASIC Bank through fictitious loans extended to nonexistent borrowers.
ACC filed six more cases at different times after 2015.
In January, ACC launched at least two more inquiries one against Bcchu over a loss worth Tk 76 crore incurred by the BASIC Bank over buying 51,500 square feet space for its head office at Motijheel.
The other case is against Bacchu and his brother Sheikha Shahriar Panna for their alleged role in embezzling Tk 30 crore from BASIC Bank for two nonexistent firms.
A series of fresh cases would be filed over the embezzlements from the BSIC Bank by way of extending fictitious loans to non-existent companies, said ACC chairman Iqbal Mahmood.