Uzzal Kumar Nandi, chairman of Northern Jute Manufacturing Company Ltd, is a glaring example of how a single person can be a cause of big worries for hundreds of people.
He committed financial crimes in connivance with notorious PK Halder, who fled the country after taking Tk3,500 crore loans from different financial institutions, but many others now have to bear the brunt of his wrongdoings.
Nandi previously served as the chairman of People's Leasing and Financial Services – a non-bank financial institution (NBFI) now under liquidation process for its failure to pay depositors' money back.
Northern Jute borrowed Tk10 crore from the scam-hit International Leasing and Financial Services, another NBFI, with support of Halder and Nandi.
The High Court on January 22 this year ordered the authorities concerned to confiscate the bank accounts and passports of 20 persons, including Halder and Nandi who had been long-time colleagues in both the NBFIs.
In accordance with the court order, the central bank has directed all banks to freeze Northern Jute's accounts with them. Also, the company in a disclosure to the Dhaka Stock Exchange said it has shut down its mill at the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation area in Kushtia.
General investors who hold over 78 percent shares of Northern Jute are now in deep trouble because many of them bought the company's stocks for as much as Tk1,400.
One of the victims wishing not to be named said he had bought some shares at Tk700 per share, down from Tk1,300-1,400, six months ago.
"When I saw that the company had declared 100 percent cash dividends, I thought I would get my investment back. But matters have become uncertain now," said the shareholder.
Meanwhile, the company's share price nosedived by 8.74 percent to Tk421 on Sunday.
Many jute suppliers and exporters have also dues with the company.
"I have paid Northern Jute Tk20 lakh in advance for buying jute goods for export. Now I see the company has shut down its production," an exporter told The Business Standard on Sunday.
Ujjal Kanti Dhar, chief financial officer of Northern Jute, said they would not leave the issue without legal battle.
"We will file a writ petition challenging the central bank order," he told The Business Standard.
"After the order to freeze accounts, our export and import has come to a halt and we could not even pay the declared cash dividends to the shareholders," he added.
This correspondent tried to reach Nandi but he did not respond to phone calls.
Nandi was an independent director at Northern Jute in 2014. He then bought nearly 10 percent of the company's shares with the help of Halder.
Halder's cousin Amitav Adhikary also bought 4.5 percent shares of the jute mill.
Northern Jute's operating revenue was Tk39.63 crore, and net profit Tk2.16 crore, in the first half of the current financial year.