A fraudulent cooperative association, Navana Samity, has allegedly embezzled Tk2.48 crore from more than 200 people in different areas of Patuakhali district.
Posing as a cooperative organisation, Navana lured dozens of people in the district, promising that if one deposited Tk1 lakh, they would get Tk10,000 to Tk15,000 in profits, against the deposit, within two months. Moreover, if a cow or buffalo was given, the client would gain a lucrative profit on top of the price of the animal after a month.
Lured by such assurances, more than 200 people from different areas of Patuakhali have lost Tk2.48 crore, according to sources at the Financial Crimes Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police.
CID sources said it filed a case on 21 February under the money laundering act against three persons from Patuakhali, after conducting a preliminary investigation into the incident.
The accused are Md Nasiruddin Sabuj, 35, Nazmul Haque, 40, and Md Shahjahan Ghazi, 52.
According to preliminary investigation, some 10 people including the accused set up the so-called association Navana Samity in Marichbunia of Patuakhali Sadar in 2019. They carried out a massive campaign in different areas of the district, promising people lucrative profits on their deposits. To gain the confidence of locals, for the first few months they paid the assured earnings with the capital to their clients. Soon, more and more people from different areas started investing in hopes of making a profit.
The sources said accused Nazmul and Shahjahan visited several areas of Patuakhali, including Marichbunia, collecting money and taking cows and buffaloes from low income people. Though they gave receipts to their clients against the deposited money or animal, they basically took most of the money and cattle on the basis of a verbal agreement only.
At one stage, they stopped paying out the deposits and profits. In November 2021, the accused and their accomplices fled the area in the face of mounting pressures from the clients, said CID sources.
A total of 18 more cases are pending against the accused, filed with Patuakhali Sadar Police Station and the court, the CID said.
Humayun Kabir, special superintendent of CID's Financial Crimes Unit, told The Business Standard, "The vested quarter has embezzled money by assuring many innocent people of paying dividends. A case has been filed in this regard and an investigation has been launched. Only at the conclusion of our investigation can we say who else was involved and how much money has been embezzled."