Sikder brothers escape to Thailand by air ambulance from legal charges at home

  • Senior Correspondent bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-05-29 22:53:31 BdST

bdnews24

Ron Haque Sikder, a director of National Bank Limited, and his brother Dipu Haque Sikder have left Bangladesh for Thailand by an air ambulance after being accused of threatening top executives of Exim Bank.

Mir Shahidul Islam, the chief of police’s Special Branch, confirmed the development to bdnews24.com on Friday, after The Daily Star reported it.

“They had medical visas. We were unaware that they were accused in a case,” said the additional inspector general of police.

The immigration police that operate under the Special Branch have received no information on the case from the court or the investigators or any other relevant official, Shahidul said. “We came to know about the case later from the media,” he added.

Former army officer Serajul Islam, a director of Exim Bank, started a case against Ron and Dipu with Gulshan police on May 19, saying they had abducted its Managing Director Mohammed Haider Ali Miah and Additional Managing Director Mohammad Feroz Hossain, and their two chauffeurs.

The charges also include firing a gun in an attempted murder and forcing Haider and Feroz into signing documents.

NBL has denied the charges. It levelled countercharges against Exim Bank, saying one of the Exim directors had taken loans from NBL and tried to borrow more through illegal means. The case against the Sikder brothers aims to belittle them, it added.

The Daily Star on Friday reported that the two brothers left Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport for Bangkok on May 25 by an air ambulance of R&R Aviation, a company owned by Sikder Group.

A government-approved medical evacuation flight of R&R Aviation left the airport with two passengers at 9:11 am on May 25, AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, a director of the airport, told bdnews24.com.  

The Bangladesh Embassy in Thailand sent a letter to the Thai government on May 23 requesting permission for the arrival of an air ambulance, The Daily Star reported, citing foreign ministry sources.

The Thai government gave the permission on the same day and then a letter was sent to the Thai Embassy in Dhaka, requesting it to issue medical visas for two passengers, according to the report.

After bdnews24.com reached Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen for comment, he said he had enquired about it but officials did not say anything. “We have no idea about it.”   

Momen referred to the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh, saying: “They know better about air ambulances.”

Asked about the allegation that foreign ministry officials helped Ron and Dipu secure the visas, the minister responded by saying: “I know nothing about it.”

Both Ron, 47, and Dipu, 53, have US passports, a source at the airport law enforcement told bdnews24.com.

The directors of R&R Aviation had travelled to Bangkok by the company’s aircraft several times earlier, he added.