Former insurance regulator and Delta Life Insurance Company's first administrator Sultan-ul-Abedine Molla was freed from jail on Thursday on bail.
He was sent to jail on Monday after the court of Dhaka's Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Abu Bakar Siddique denied his bail in a case filed accusing him of leading a mask procurement scandal at Delta.
Sultan, a former member of the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), bypassed the mandatory tendering process while procuring facemasks worth Tk1.07 crore, while the company's internal rules made tender invitation through national newspaper advertisements a must for over Tk8 lakh worth of procurements, alleged Delta's suspended board's director Zeyad Rahman – the plaintiff.
The plaintiff complained that of the 2.15 lakh masks procured from a third party vendor, alleged to be a relative of Sultan, at Tk50 each in May 2021, only 19,000 pieces were disbursed among the company's zonal offices and the remaining masks were found nowhere.
The procurement was done with a mala fide intention to embezzle the company's money, the plaintiff said, adding that the rate of Tk50 was much higher than the market rate then.
Sultan-ul-Abedine Molla told The Business Standard on Saturday (28 May) the Delta Life management requested him to allow them to bypass the tendering process considering the then urgency of the mask procurement during the peak of the pandemic.
"They said, the board can allow it and since there is no board of directors right now it is your job," said Molla.
Delta's Deputy Managing Director Md Manzure Mawla, executive vice presidents Kamrul Haque and M Hafizur Rahman Khan were involved in the procurement scandal by approving the purchase, where Sultan as the then administrator ordered the illegal procurement, complained the plaintiff Zeyad Rahman.
"As a law abiding citizen I appeared before the court on the first day and my bail had been denied, before my lawyer secured the bail from another court on Thursday," Molla said.
"It is really frustrating that the Insurance Act protected the administrator against such legal actions and I was sent to jail," he said, adding, "I am not supposed to bear the legal expenses, but now I have to."
He also claimed that each of the procured masks was distributed and there had been no nepotism and corruption in the process.
Earlier, the court assigned the Police Bureau of Investigation to deep dig into the matter and the bureau reported that the defendants committed the alleged crime.
Since Mawla, Kamrul, and Hafizur did not appear before the CMM court despite summons, the court issued arrest warrants against them on Monday and they later last week secured a bail from the High Court for three weeks.
They have to appear before the CMM court by 16 June, while the next hearing at the CMM Court is scheduled on 23 June.
In early 2021, the IDRA suspended Delta Life's board and appointed Sultan as the administrator there.
The members of the suspended board in their legal actions alleged that IDRA Chairman M Mosharraf Hossain asked for grafts and being denied he appointed Sultan as the administrator of the company.
Later, IDRA withdrew Sultan, the second administrator resigned and the third administrator is in charge of the company.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), in response to a High Court order up on a writ petition by an investor, recently has informed the Anti-Corruption Commission that its investigators found over Tk42 crore to be deposited in several bank accounts of IDRA Chairman Dr M Mosharraf Hossain, his family members and entities controlled by him.