The High Court yesterday asked the defaulters of People's Leasing and Financial Services to repay an instalment of their loans by 9 March, saying they would be put behind bars otherwise.
At the same time, the single-member bench of Justice Mohammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar has fixed 9 March for the next hearing in the case.
At Thursday's hearing, a borrower named Arefin Shamsul Alamin told the court that Tk160 crore was allocated for him but People's Leasing is now demanding Tk384 crore from him.
He claimed that he had cleared instalments of Tk20 lakh every month but he did not pay any instalments for the last 24 months.
At that time, the court highlighted the identities of the businessman's relatives and warned the borrower against phoning the court by ministers.
"The influence of ministers or any other people will not work. We have to work within the legal framework. You have been caught in the law. Pay an instalment ahead of the next hearing and then come for talks."
"Your first job is to pay the money. Then, we will discuss who will get how much money and how."
On the second day's hearing on explanations of non-performing loans, 137 of the 280 defaulters were scheduled to appear in the court on Thursday but only 40 showed up.
On the first day's hearing on February 23, only 51 of the defaulters appeared in the court.
The High Court bench set up to deal with the company-related cases said the borrowers who showed up on two separate dates have to deposit a big portion of their defaulted loans by March 9.
At the next hearing, the court will pass an order about the 91 borrowers who appeared in the hearing on Tuesday and Thursday and the other defaulters.
Before passing the order, the court vented its anger at the defaulters saying, "You have fled away after collecting the money. But the starving depositors are roaming around the streets.
"Not thieves or frauds, people are the owners of People's Leasing money. Pay the money first, and then come for talks. Otherwise, you will be put behind the bars."
At the hearing, Dr Sayeeda Nasrin stood for a number of defaulters.
One of her clients told the court that he has a loan of Tk384 crore from People's Leasing.
When the lawyer applied for repaying the loan in instalments, the court said, "Pay (a big amount) first and then apply for instalments. Otherwise, (we) will send you to prison."
"We are looking at whether it is possible to recover the money from the borrowers by keeping the company functioning."
On 21 January, the High Court summoned 280 defaulters of the non-bank financial institution over loans amounting to Tk5 lakh or more.
As per the order, 143 defaulters were scheduled to appear on Tuesday, but only 51 showed up.
The court has directed the rest to appear on March 9.