Ershad Ali, chairman of Ershad Brothers Corporation, has defaulted on Tk250 crore in loans from several banks and one non-banking financial institution.
A Dhaka court on September 16 issued an arrest warrant against this trader of rods and cement in a case filed by Arab Bangladesh (AB) Bank.
Following the court order, police on Monday conducted a drive at his residence in Dhanmondi.
Officer-in-Charge of Dhanmondi police station Abdul Latif said they are trying to arrest Ershad.
According to sources, Ershad has taken around Tk150 crore in loans from the Kakrail branch of AB Bank. Moreover, he has borrowed Tk15.5 crore from Brac Bank, Tk6 crore from Southeast Bank and Tk29 crore from non-banking financial institution Phoenix Finance and Investment.
He has borrowed around Tk50 crore more from a few other banks.
Md Shahidullah, general secretary of Bangladesh Auto Re-Rolling and Steel Mills Association, also the managing director of Metrocem Cement, identified Ershad Ali as a fraudster.
Claiming that industry insiders are aware of the fraudster's notoriety, he said Ershad went to buy materials from him two years ago, but he had refused to do business with him.
While visiting Ershad's office at Nasir Trade Centre in Banglamotor, Dhaka on Tuesday, The Business Standard found only two employees present there. One of them, named Abir, confirmed that the 5000-square-feet office space is owned by Ershad.
Ershad's brother Zahurul Haque said that he has incurred losses in a number of businesses, including supplying construction materials and financing a steel mill.
"Counting massive losses, Ershad has fallen in a deep financial crisis," Zahurul said while talking to The Business Standard over the phone.
AB Bank officials informed that Ershad has been a client at their Islamic banking wing since 2010. He took out loans from the bank on various occasions and also repaid them occasionally.
But, in 2017, he became a loan defaulter. In a bid to remove his name from the list of defaulters, he rescheduled his loans twice that year. After that, he also took out fresh loans from several other banks.
Now Ershad owes Tk148 crore to AB Bank and the entire amount of this has been defaulted.
To recover the loans, the bank has filed four cases with the Chief Metropolitan Court under the Negotiable Instruments Act. Later on September 17, the court turned down a bail plea filed by Ershad.
AB Bank Managing Director Tarique Afzal said that Ershad did not repay the loans despite repeated reminders from the bank, so they had to go for legal action. "The bank will take every necessary measure to recover the money," he added.
The Business Standard could not reach Ershad Ali, despite repeated attempts to contact him on his cellphone.
However, one Zakir Hossain later called back from the number, introducing himself as the manager of Ershad Brothers. He claimed Ershad was very sick and it was not possible for him to talk to anyone at the moment.