A three-hour long drive of law enforcers turned futile as they failed to arrest Hall-Mark Group Managing Director Tanvir Mahmud early Sunday.
To arrest Tanvir, Rapid Action Battalion and police conducted the raid from 2:00am Sunday at the factory of Hall-Mark Group in Savar stretching on 1,000 bighas of land but they returned empty handed, said Lt Col Ziaul Hassan, chief of Rab’s Intelligence Wing.
A team of nearly 100 law enforcers raided the factory acting on a request of the Anti-Corruption Commission that Tanvir was hiding there.
The arrest attempt is the consequence of the 11 cases filed against 27 officials of controversial Hall-Mark Group including its MD and Sonali Bank high-ups for misappropriating Tk 1,568 crore.
During the raid, the team raided the offices, factories and a residence of Tanvir but could not find him, Lt Col Zia added.
When the team reached the factory, it found the road leading to it was blocked by pick-up vans, which delayed their operation, the Lt Col said.
“By then, Tanvir fled the scene,” he said.
Though the team failed to trace Tanvir, it found 30 women and several bottles of liquor there, he went on saying.
The Lt Col said they did not arrest the ladies or seize the alcohol as their first priority was to nab Tanvir.
Lt Col Zia also informed that Tanvir deploys guards after the name of his company ‘Hall-Mark Patrol Team’ in addition to 350 ansar personnel as security guards.
As soon as the team was held back by the parked pickups in front of the factory, the guards might have informed Tanvir of the raid, Lt Col Zia said.
Hall-Mark Group built the offices, factories and houses grabbing the plots of Janata Housing, a real estate company, he claimed.
The Lt Col however expressed hope that they would continue drives to arrest the Hall-Mark MD.
When the Hall-Mark scam came to light, in June, Sonali Bank had appointed Syful Shamsul Alam and Co, a chartered accountant and consultancy firm, to prepare a functional audit report and find out those responsible for the irregularities.
The firm submitted its report and forwarded a copy of the report to the central bank.
According to the report, as of May 31 this year, the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel-branch of the bank had disbursed Tk 3,606 crore as loan to Hall-Mark Group and other entities without maintaining banking rules.
It found various officials of the bank responsible for the scam. It said the top management of the bank had remained “mysteriously silent for a year”, since February 2011, although the signs of irregularities in the branch came to light through various internal inspections.
In May, a central bank investigation also revealed massive irregularities by the bank in sanctioning and disbursing of loans, especially to little-known Hall-Mark Group and others, and instructed it to take necessary actions.