The High Court has issued a contempt rule against Delta Life Insurance Company Administrator Sultan-ul-Abedine Molla on the charge of interfering with a court order for investigating corruption allegations against Dr M Mosharraf Hossain, chairman of the insurance regulator.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman on Thursday also asked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to accomplish its investigation into the complaint against Mosharraf Hossain and submit the report in time.
Barrister Abul Kalam Azad, a counsel for petitioner Zeyad Rahman, a member of Delta Life's suspended board, told The Business Standard that the administrator had interfered with the 28 January court order for letting the ACC investigation against the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (Idra) chairman continue, as he had ordered Pallab Bhowmick to withdraw his complaint from the ACC.
Based on a recent petition by Zeyad Rahman, the HC gave Delta Life's administrator four weeks to explain as to why his act would not be treated as contempt of the court, said Azad.
Sultan-Ul-Abedine Molla declined to comment in this regard by describing it as a sub-judice matter.
Barrister Imtiaz Farooq, his lawyer, however, told TBS over the telephone, "We are yet to receive anything from the HC, as only petitioners participate in such hearings."
"We would present our points before the HC in support of our stance that the administrator did his job as the law dictated," he added.
The Delta Life-Idra chairman feud
Idra had assigned two chartered accountant firms more than a year ago to audit and investigate if Delta Life had any financial irregularities and they submitted some points where the company had deficiencies to protect policyholders' interest, according to the insurance regulator.
Meanwhile, before December 2020 the company was waiting for an approval from Idra for renewal of its Chief Executive Officer Adeeba Rahman's appointment and its actuarial basis which is a must before paying dividends to shareholders.
The company on 7 December 2020 filed a complaint against the Idra chairman alleging that he had demanded Tk50 lakh in bribes from one of their employees and it also submitted audio clips with the relevant conversations.
Meanwhile, the Idra served the company with a show-cause letter asking it to explain as to why its board would not be suspended and an administrator would not be appointed to run the company for four months.
Delta Life sought legal protection through seeking a stay order but had to welcome former Idra member Sultan-Ul-Abedine Molla as its administrator on 11 February 2021 as no order came from the HC.
Delta Life CEO Adeeba Rahman and Director Zeyad Rahman have been repeatedly claiming before the press that the administrator appointment had been done from a collateral purpose, that the administrator would act inside the company to distort the legal action against the Idra chairman.
When the administrator on 17 February asked Delta Life employee Pallab Bhowmick to withdraw his complaint against the Idra chairman and the employee did so, Zeyad Rahman moved to the HC and secured a court order which asked the ACC not to accept the withdrawal application.
Earlier, based on Zeyad's petition, the HC on 28 January ordered the ACC to launch an investigation into the allegation against the Idra chairman and inform the petitioner about updates in a month.
Being asked about his activities in the company, Administrator Sultan-Ul-Abedin Molla previously told TBS, Bhowmick "confessed to an internal committee" that his complaint against the Idra chairman was "false" and based on the committee recommendation, he had written the letter asking for complaint withdrawal.
On the other hand, Zeyad's lawyer said, Bhowmick was intimidated in February and he had filed a general diary with local police in this regard.
Amid the counter-allegations among the regulator and sponsor-directors, shareholders' suffering is only getting extended as they are not seeing any annual general meeting for the last two fiscal years.
The feud triggered a fall in Delta Life's share price since 20 January.
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has recently appointed a special auditor to look into Delta Life's financial matters as it is a 'AAA' rated company and also the first private sector life insurer in the country.