State-owned Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB) has been extending loans for the past four years to a company, in the favour of a man who died five years ago.
The bank’s Karwan Bazar branch carried out this surreptitious transaction and the matter surfaced to light the bank branch sent letters to the address of the deceased, his widow replied to the bank and BKB issued legal notice to the directors of company.
After retiring from government service, Jagannath Dey became the director of a company called Bangladesh Plantation Limited (BD Plant), which has been registered with the stock exchange since 1991.
Dey passed away in December 2011, cremation records show. Yet BKB had been providing loans to BD Plant in his name from 2012 to 2015.
The company owes BKB around Tk 100 million. BD Plant managing director Buddha Deb Mukherjee, commonly known as BD Mukherjee, and the other directors are beneficiaries of the loan.
As Jagannath Dey’s signature is found on the bank’s loan forms, the bank officials have expressed their surprise. They, however, continue sending letters to the deceased person’s address to recover the loan.
In a letter dated 31 May 2016, the bank wrote to Jagannath Dey, “You have been provided a loan to Taka 8 crore 32 lakh (83.2 million) at an annual interest rate of 13 per cent. According to the agreement, you were to repay Taka 9 crore 32 lakh (93.2 million) within 30 April 2014 to 30 June 2015. However, despite three reminders issued from 16 November 2015 till 23 March 2016, you have not repaid the outstanding amount.”
It also stated that the entire amount was to be repaid within a month of receiving the letter.
Upon receipt of the letter, the wife of Jagannath Dey, Gayitri Dey on 26 July 2016 sent a reply to the deputy general manager of the BKB Karwan Bazar branch. Prior to that, on 17 July she had met the BKB managing director at the time, MA Yusuf.
In her reply, Gayitri Dey wrote, “In your letter you have urged my late husband Jagannath Dey to repay an outstanding loan. I was shocked by the letter. He had passed away on 9 December 2011.”
Gayitri Dey pointed out that the MD of BD Plant, BD Mukherjee, had taken the large amount of loans in her deceased husband’s name, showing him as a director. She said that the MD of BKB at the time MA Yusuf, had assured her of resolving the matter. He had been at the post for five months after that, but took no action before leaving.
On 25 September 2016, BKB issued legal notice to all the directors of BD Plant, including Jagannath Dey. They were told to repay Tk 100 million within 15 days. That was said to be the final notice.
When asked on 1 February about the matter, BKB MD Muhammad Awal Khan said he would inquire with the Karwan Bazar branch about the matter. On 5 February he said, “I am not sure about how this happened. I have not got all the details of the matter from the branch. But the loan wasn’t given to any individual. It was given to a company.”
The DGM on the BKB Karwan Bazar branch, ARM Salar-e-Jahan, on 5 February told Prothom Alo that this transaction took place before he had joined this branch. The head office had been provided with all the details.
Gayitri Dey said she had visited the Karwan Bazar branch once after receiving the letter. The bank officials had said that Jagannath Dey had signed papers even in 2013-14, according to the files. She was shocked at the matter. She even gave the death and cremation documents of her husband to the bank.
The DGM of BKB’s Karwan Bazar branch at the time of providing the loan was Thakur Das Kundu, who has been promoted to the post of general manager (admin) at the head office.
On Monday Thakur Das Kundu said. “BD Plant has a lot of assets and so was given the loan. If necessary the tea gardens will be sold to recover the money.”
About the forged signature of a dead man, he said, “That was a mistake. The letter sent to Jagannath Dey was also a mistake.”
On Sunday BD Mukherjee told journalists that Tk 100 million was nothing compared to the net worth of the company. He refused to comment on the name and signature of Jagannath Dey being used even after Dey’s death.