The Anti-Corruption Commission has arrested Abontika Boral, a close associate of Prashanta Kumar Halder, alias PK Halder, charged with amassing illegal wealth and money laundering.
The arrest was made on Wednesday noon in the capital's Dhanmondi area by a team led by ACC Deputy Director (Investigation) Md Salahuddin, said ACC spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.
"The investigations into the PK Halder cases have found Abontika Baral's involvement. For this reason, she has been arrested," Pranab said.
The anti-graft watchdog filed a case against Halder on 8 January last year for acquiring illegal assets worth around Tk275 crore.
After her arrest, Abontika was first kept in the custody of ACC at its Segunbagicha head office, and later, produced before the court.
Following the ACC appeal, the court granted a three-day remand.
In reply to a question by reporters, Abontika said she did not know anything why she was arrested.
Asked if she possesses any illegal assets, the arrestee said: "The ACC knows about it, I cannot say."
Earlier, Abontika did not appear before the ACC when she was summoned for questioning on 28 December as part of the investigation into the case.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan recently told the media that PK Halder NRB Global Bank and International Leasing and Financial Services Limited (ILFSL) managing director had smuggled money out of the country through his 70/80 girlfriends.
Abontika is one of them, according to the ACC.
Another 'associate' of PK Halder Shankha Bepari was arrested on 4 January for his involvement in the case during the ACC probe.
A 'luxury' flat was found in the Dhanmondi area in the name of the arrestee, which the ACC believes was bought with PK Halder's money.
Who is Abontika?
According to ACC sources, Abontika Boral used to work as a receptionist for Reliance Insurance.
Later, she worked for several companies, including People's Leasing, Halder-owned P&L International Limited.
At one point, she turned out to be a director for several companies, including Sukhada Properties Limited, which was owned by Halder.
ACC in its investigation further found that even though Abontika did not take any loan from NRB Global Bank or any other financial institutions, a large sum of money used to be regularly transferred directly from these institutions to her bank account.
The ACC has already seized the 12 / E flat of house No 39 on Saat Masjid Road, Dhanmondi, through a court order.
The Anti-Commission Commission said they have information that Abontika has more assets which they will try to ascertain through remand interrogation.
Money laundering investigation against Halder underway
The investigation into PK Halder's money laundering is also in its final stage.
While he was the managing director of Reliance Finance, PK Halder made some of his relatives independent directors for some other leasing companies and embezzled a huge sum from there, including People's Leasing, through various tactics.
A Tk3,000 crore of the leasing company was appropriated by Mr Halder that was a big blow to the enterprise.
As part of the investigation, the ACC has frozen Tk2,976 crore belonging to Halder and his associates through a court order.
According to the ACC probe, Mr Halder has swindled various organisations out of at least Tk11,000 crore, an amount that might increase.
Apart from this, the anti-graft body has received evidence from secret sources that Halder has smuggled around Tk1,000 crore into Singapore, India and Canada.
On 28 June, Mr Halder, who is abroad, appealed to the incumbent managing director of ILFSL to make arrangements for his return to the country.
Although the court allowed his return, PK Halder did not return and an arrest warrant was issued against him through Interpol.