While there have been huge scams in the banking sector over the past decade, very few of the criminals have been punished. There has been no justice in the cases of the Hall Mark, BASIC Bank and Janata Bank scams. Neither was anyone punished in the scams pertaining to the private sector Padma Bank, NRB Commercial Bank and AB Bank. Reports have been appearing in the media about corruption in Union Bank, but there seems to be no investigation there. The ownership of many private banks has changed hands too at the behest of unknown quarters who have links with influential leaders of the ruling party.

The central bank controls the banking sector. But there are questions too about how far this institution has authority and control over the banking sector. It has little control over the state-run banks. The finance department of the finance ministry takes many decisions without informing the central bank.

National Bank and several other banks of the private sector have overlooked directives of the central bank, but Bangladesh Bank has taken no action. The reason is that the invisible power of those who run these banks is much stronger than the power of the visible power of the central bank. The connivance between the several former officials of Bangladesh Bank and PK Halder's People's Leasing Company has also been revealed. PK Halder laundered a billion taka and is now under trial in India. Efforts to being him bank to the country have not succeeded so far.

It is to be seen what measures the government takes following the concern and admonition of the High Court regarding the serious crimes in the banking sector. On one hand, default loans continue to pile up, and on the other, the loan defaulters are being given all sorts of perks and provisions. While the loan defaulters bask in the comfort of the government's self-contradictory policy, it is a discouragement to those who repay their loans on time.

The government must take stern measures to address this corruption and anarchy in the banking sector. This cannot be done in a selective manner. Each and every person responsible for the financial scams in the state-run and private sector banks over the past two decades must be brought to book. Only punishment for the crimes can restore order to the banking sector.

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