Padma Bank has filed a case against a readymade garment manufacturer and exporter from Chattogram for failing to repay a Tk38 crore agricultural loan he had taken from the erstwhile Farmers Bank, despite having no business in the agriculture sector.
Mirage Agro Complex, a company that existed only on paper, took the loan from the bank six years ago. Failing to recover the loan, Padma Bank filed the case with Artha Rin Adalat on 29 August, said sources in the bank.
The sources said Sheikh Mohammad Danial, proprietor of Mirage Agro, and also managing director of Finesse Apparels Limited, took the loan from Padma Bank in 2015. Danial had no agricultural business. His father Abdul Matin is the chairman of Finesse Apparels Limited, an RMG factory at the Karnaphuli EPZ in the port city. Finesse Apparels manufactures and exports trousers.
At the time of taking the loan, Mirage Agro's business address was shown in the application as 180, Sugandha Residential Area, Panchlaish, Chattogram. But no such organisation was found at that address during a visit to the area recently.
Although the company gave some instalments initially, it stopped repaying in 2018, when the loan was rescheduled. In 2019, when the loan turned into a bad loan again, Mirage Agro applied for another reschedule, which the bank declined as the down payment was not made as per the conditions, informed the bank officials.
Finally, on 29 August, 2021 Padma Bank filed a case against the company with Chattogram Artha Rin Adalat, claiming that the company owes Tk37.76 crore to the bank. In the case, Mirage Agro owner Sheikh Mohammad Danial, his father Abdul Matin, mortgagor and guarantor of the loan, and his wife Tasnia Quamrun Anika, another guarantor, have been named as defendants.
On condition of anonymity, a senior official of the bank said Mirage Agro had taken the loan when Padma Bank was Farmers Bank. "When we took charge after the bank was renamed Padma Bank, we went to Mirage Agro and did not find any agro-based company or business at the provided address."
"Danial's father runs a garment business. When the bank was Farmers Bank, the loan was easily provided, under the influence of one of the directors, as an agricultural loan though they had no business in the agricultural sector. Now, we have taken legal action to recover the loan," the official added.
Contacted, Sheikh Mohammad Danial claimed that they have a food grains business. "We have exported potatoes. Besides, we also have business in the ship breaking sector. The bank loan was not repaid due to some business problems," he said.
"However," he continued, "we are talking to the bank officials. We will repay this loan by selling some properties within the next six months."
Meanwhile, sources from Agrani Bank said Finesse Apparels Limited owes Tk8 crore to the bank. The company took the loan from the Agrabad commercial branch of the bank. The company is not in a good position regarding payment of the instalments against the loan, according to bank sources.