A Dhaka court today framed charges against 51 people including Destiny Group Managing Director Rafiqul Amin in connection with two money laundering cases involving around Tk 4,200 crore.
Rafiqul and five others, who are now in jail, and Destiny 2000 President Lt Gen (retd) Harun-Ar-Rashid, who is now on bail, pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after Judge Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah of the Senior Special Judge's Court of Dhaka read out the charges to them.
Earlier in the day, the court rejected all the seven discharge petitions submitted by Amin, Harun and five others. The court issued arrest warrants against Amin’s wife Farah Diba and 43 others as they have been absconding.
The court transferred the cases to the Special Judge Court-5 and fixed September 29 to start trial.
Earlier on August 17, the High Court directed the lower court to pass an order by August 24 on charge framing against Amin and others.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on May 4, 2014 pressed charges against the 51 people accused in the two cases.
They were charged with misappropriating funds through Destiny Tree Plantation (DTPL) project and from Destiny Multipurpose Cooperative Society Ltd (DMCSL), according to ACC.
The group's irregularities came under the spotlight in early 2012 after the central bank found that it had been involved in illegal banking.
Several newspapers, including The Daily Star, ran reports on massive irregularities in the group's cooperative, tree plantation and multilevel marketing wings.
In July 2012, the ACC filed two cases against 22 Destiny officials on charges of laundering money.
Top officials of Destiny misappropriated about Tk 4,200 crore through its tree plantation project and the cooperative firm and laundered this money abroad, the charge sheets state.
The officials embezzled the money in the name of paying salaries, honoraria, commission, incentives and promotional costs. They transferred the money to their bank accounts and those of the 20 companies under the group.
At the same time, they also misappropriated Tk 2,433 crore from 17.5 lakh investors by claiming that they had sold 6.18 crore saplings under the tree plantation project. In reality the group planted only 32 lakh trees, according to the ACC’s findings.