S Alam Group and its chairman Mohammad Saiful Alam have issued legal notices to two secretaries of the government, the editors of four newspapers including Prothom Alo and seven journalists, regarding certain published news reports. The notice has called upon the home secretary and the secretary for information and broadcasting to take steps so that by 10:00am Sunday morning the reports in S Alam Group and the concerned banks are removed from the public domain. A demand was also made so that such reports are not published again.
Senior lawyer Ajmamul Hussain KC on Thursday sent the legal notices on behalf of Mohammad Saiful Alam. The notice stated that if the reports are not removed by 13 August 10:00 am, a writ will be filed with the High Court for due measures to be taken for protection of the fundamental rights of Saiful Alam and S Alam Group.
The notice mentions the names of Islami Bank, First Security Islami Bank, Social Islami Bank, Union Bank and Global Islami Bank as banks involving his interests. It was claimed that due to these reports, these banks connected to S Alam Group’s interests have faced losses amounting to Tk 423.22 billion (Tk 42,322 crore).
On 24 November last year, Prothom Alo published a report ‘Nasty November for Islami Bank’. In reference to this report, a legal notice has been sent to Prothom Alo’s editor and publisher Matiur Rahman and correspondent Shanaullah Sakib.
Notices have been sent to The Daily Star on account of two reports. One was published on 6 December last year regarding a probe into the assets of S Alam Group. The other was published on 4 August under the name of ‘S Alam’s Aladdin’s lamp’. The notices have been issued against The Daily Star editor and publisher Mahfuz Anam, executive editor Syed Ashraful Haque, and journalists Partha Pratim Bhattacharya and Zyma Islam.
On 30 November last year, New Age published a report, ‘A Alam Group alone withdraws loan of Tk 30 thousand crore from Islami Bank.’ In this regard, notices have been sent to New Age editor Nurul Kabir and reporter Mustafizur Rahman.
Legal notices have been sent to The Business Standard editor Inam Ahmed and reporters Jebun Nesa Alo and Sakhawat Prince for a report published on 27 November last year. The report was headed, ‘How a 24-year-old greenhorn was blessed with a Tk900cr loan.’
Incidentally, on 4 August The Daily Star published a report, ‘S Alam’s Aladdin’s lamp’. After the report was brought to their notice, on 6 August, the High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukdar and Justice Khizir Hayat issued a suo motu ruling in this regard. The court issued directives to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and the police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to investigate the allegations against S Alam Group owner Mohammad Saiful Alam of transferring funds overseas without permission, and to submit the reports to the court within two months.
Earlier the same High Court bench on 4 December last year had ordered investigations into allegations made in media reports about loan scams of three banks including Islami Bank. ACC, Bangladesh Bank, BFIU and CID were asked to investigate the matter and submit the reports in this regard.