Four trustees of North South University sent to jail, face grilling in embezzlement case

A Dhaka court has sent to jail four trustees of North South University in a case over alleged embezzlement of the institution’s funds.

Senior Special Judge KM Imrul Kayes on Monday also granted the Anti-Corruption Commission permission to quiz them at the jail gates within seven days after police produced them for hearing.

The trustees behind bars are MA Kashem, Benajir Ahmed, Rehana Rahman and Mohammed Shajahan.

The ACC on May 5 prosecuted six people, including the chairman of the university's Board of Trustees Azim Uddin Ahmed, for allegedly misappropriating the university's funds for purchasing land for its campus. The other accused is, Amin Md Hilaly, managing director of Ashaloy Housing. They were also charged with money laundering.

The High Court on Sunday denied the four trustees’ plea for anticipatory bail and turned them over to police.

Mutual Group of Industries Chairman Kashem is a former president of FBCCI and director of South East Bank. Benajir, the managing director of Raymond Group, had served as the president of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Rehana is the managing director of Bengal Tradeways. Shajahan is the managing director of Shah Fateullah Textile Mills and Jalal Ahmed Spinning Mills.

According to the case, filed by the ACC Deputy Director Farid Ahmed Patwary, the accused bought 36.81 hectares of land at a low price but provided a much higher estimate to the university authorities with the 'nefarious intention' of embezzling the excess funds.

Initially, they paid the money to the seller, which was then withdrawn by their associates by cheque. The funds were then transferred to the accused, who parked the money in fixed deposit accounts.

After ACC’s Farid, who is also investigating the case, sought to quiz the accused at the jail gates, the defence lawyers argued that the court should dismiss the plea considering the age of their clients. They also sought first-class privileges for their clients.