Bacchu desperate to sell 138 katha land in Bashundhara

Abdul Hye

Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu, who is the former chairman of BASIC Bank and the main accused in the bank's scam, owns a land of 138 katha at the Bashundhara residential area in Dhaka.

He has engaged two persons to sell the land as soon as possible.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) submitted a charge sheet against Sheikh Abdul Hye in 58 cases in connection with the BASIC Bank scam in June this year.

Sources at the ACC and BASIC Bank said an aggressive step was taken to sell the land of two plots following the submission of charge sheet.

However, Sheikh Abdul Hye could not find a suitable buyer for the last four months. It was also learnt that he will sell the land at a cheap rate if anyone pays the money at a time.

Babul Mia on behalf of Hye is trying to sell the land.

Local people in Bashundhara know him as manager looking after properties of Abdul Hye. Sheikh Abdul Hye owned the land when was the chairman of BASIC Bank in 2012.

The amount of the land is 228.4 decimals in two plots--No 719 and No 720 in Block-I in Bashundhara. As 33 decimals equal to one bigha, the area of two plots stands at 6.9 bigha and as 20 katha equal to one bigha, the amount of the properties stands at 138 katha.

Although several months have already passed, no arrest warrant has been issued against Sheikh Abdul Hye. The ACC said there is an embargo on him not to travel abroad.

Instead of surrendering to the court, he is trying to get supplementary bail from the High Court through his lawyer.

It was not possible to talk to Abdul Hye over selling his land.

When talking to his lawyer Syed Mahsib Hossain over the phone on Saturday, he said Sheikh Abdul Hye is in the country.

He also said he is unaware of 138 katha land. However, he can sell his properties if there is no court injunction.

Bacchu’s land in Bashundhara

A review of documents shows Abdul Hye owns 23.09 decimal of land on the CS and the SA plot (dag) number 3369, 76.19 decimals on the plot No 3370, 42.52 decimals on the plot No 3371, and 85.43 decimals on the plot No 3372. The CS and the SA stand for Cadastral Survey and State Acquisition Survey.

Vesting the Bashundhara Residential Area on 19 October, it was found that a red brick-built boundary wall has been erected on the entire land. There is also a wall between two plots, and an 80-feet long road surrounds these plots. There are many residential buildings in the north. A private hospital under construction and a building with signboards of a housing company were in the south, while a power sub-station is in the west and a house adjacent to the road is in the east.

This correspondent talked to Babul Mia, who is engaged in selling Abdul Hye’s 138 kathas of land, over mobile phone on 5 November. Asked about the update on land sales, he said he was a driver of Abdul Hye and he knows nothing about this matter since he has been ill for a month.

Replying to a query on whether he found any buyer yet, Babul Mia said, “I can say nothing more on land sale.” However, it was learned during spot visits that Babul Mia came once a week and took his share of vegetables that grow on these lands. Vegetables including bottle gourd, eggplant and turmeric grow on a portion of the land while catkin grows on the non-arable parts.

Locals said the price of land is Tk 20 million a katha. That means prices of lands owned by Abdul Hye are about Tk 2.76 billion.

There are two gates on both sides of the land. The gate of the east side was open, and after entering into the area, soil was found and brick chips have been filled up on some parts, and that is usually done to fill a piece of land.

This correspondent traced another person Enamul Haider who is assisting in selling lands on behalf of Abdul Hye. Enamul Haider talked to this correspondent at a hotel in the capital’s Banani on 7 November. He said, “We have talked to a lot of people, but finalized nothing yet. If someone wants to buy the land at one go, the price can be reduced slightly.”

How much they can lower the price. In reply, he said price can be less than Tk 20 million, but above Tk 15 million a katha.

Abdul Hye became a member of parliament from Jatiya Party in the Bagerhat-1 constituency in 1988. The government appointed him as the chairman of BASIC Bank after Awami League came to power in 2009. His close contract with the top level of the present government is very much discussed in the political domain of the country.

Behind the embezzlement of Tk 22.65 billion

Abdul Hye was Basic Bank’s chairman for two terms in 2009-2014. An investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) revealed that Tk 22.65 billion was embezzled and laundered during Abdul Hye’s tenure. A total of 59 cases were filed over the incident in September 2015 with Motijheel, Paltan and Gulshan police stations. Abdul Hye was accused in all but one case. It took ACC eight years to find Abdul Hye’s involvement with embezzlement.

ACC’s lawyer Khurshid Alam said the property would be confiscated if the court verdict proves it was bought by money received from bribes or if he fails to provide the valid source of income.

When Abdul Hye joined BASIC Bank in 2009, it had a default loan of 5 per cent of the total loan. But it shot up to a whopping 68 per cent at the end of 2014. Since the scam, the government has provided Basic Bank Tk 33 billion from the budget, yet the bank could not bounce back. The amount of defaulted loan in the bank stood at Tk 80.25 billion, or 63 per of its total loan, till last June.

BASIC Bank’s managing director Md Anisur Rahman told Prothom Alo that Sheikh Abdul Hye is not an employee of BASIC Bank. He was board of directors’ chairman of the bank appointed by the government. So the bank does not have any scope to take action against him.

More properties of Bacchu

While he was the chairman of the bank, Sheikh Abdul Hye bought a house on 30.25 katha land for Tk 1.1 billion at Shahid Sharani area of Cantonment Bazar in Dhaka. The price of the property was shown at Tk 152.5 million in two deeds. A Bangladesh Bank report said Abdul Hye and his brother Sheikh Shahriar alias Panna took bribes in exchange for granting loans from the bank.

ACC on 3 October filed a case for embezzlement and money laundering worth Tk 947.5 million over procurement of this property.

Within a year and two months of Abdul Hye’s assuming the chairmanship of BASIC Bank in 2009, his family business Eden Fisheries bought six ships and his brother Sheikh Shahriar alias Panna’s business Crown Fisheries bought two ships. The market price of the ships is around Tk 1 billion.

Sheikh Abdul Hye constructed a two-storied building in the names of his parents at Aruadihi village in Bagerhat’s Mollahat upazila.

Asked about the issue, Transparency International Bangladesh’s (TIB) executive director Iftekharuzzaman told Prothom Alo that what Abdul Hye had done with BASIC Bank is well known by the whole country and the government. It is clear that nothing had been done to him due to his direct and indirect political connections.

The authorities can check whether he had shown the wealth acquired and land procured in his income tax return. The government can confiscate his wealth if corruption is proved.