Destiny scam case verdict

Published:  03:21 AM, 13 May 2022

46 including former army chief Harun sentenced to jail

 
A Dhaka court has sentenced Destiny Group Managing Director Rafiqul Amin to 12 years imprisonment in a case of embezzling customers' money from Destiny Multipurpose Co-operative Society and money laundering. Destiny Group President former Army chief Lieutenant General (Retd) M Harun-Ar-Rashid was also given 4-years imprisonment. He surrendered before the court yesterday.

Judge Sheikh Nazmul Alam of Dhaka Special Judges Court-4 pronounced the verdict on Thursday. The court also sentenced the other accused in the case to different terms of imprisonment. Apart from imprisonment, the accused have been fined a total of Tk 2,300 crore.

Of the accused, MD Rafiqul Amin, Destiny Group Chairman Mohammad Hossain and Lieutenant Col (Retd) Md Didarul Alam have been in jail for 10 years. Lieutenant General (Retd) Harun-Ar-Rashid, Mrs Jasmine Akhter (Milon), Ziaul Haque Mollah and Saiful Islam Rubel were on bail. The remaining 44 are still absconding. On 31 July 2012, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed two cases with the Kalabagan  police station, accusing 53 people including Destiny MD Rafiqul Amin and its chairman. According to the case statement, Destiny laundered Tk3,285 crore of investors' money. The other case was filed on charges of laundering Tk1,389 crore out of Destiny's tree planting project. Rafiqul Amin landed in jail after he surrendered to the court in 2012 over a case filed by the ACC. The court on 24 August 2016 framed charges in the two cases.

The concept of multilevel marketing (MLM) model of business was introduced in Bangladesh in 1998 by the Global Guardian Network (GGN). At one point, the government banned the functionalities of the GGN over allegations of fraudulent activities. Rafiqul Amin was the first customer of GGN. After the shutdown of the GGN, it was Rafiqul Amin who founded Destiny in 2000.

After starting its journey with a capital of Tk12 lakh, Destiny-2000 Limited collected around Tk5,000 crore from people over the next decade alluring them with promises of high profits. The company went on with its highly dubious business openly and without hindrance for a long time.

In the absence of surveillance or action by regulatory or law enforcement agencies, Rafiqul Amin could easily build a huge network of Destiny across the country.

On top of the fact that there was no government initiative to rein in the illegal activities of the organization, Rafiqul Amin got the help of the then influential ministers, parliamentarians, politicians, retired top military and civilian bureaucrats to expand the network of Destiny.

He made some of the influential people his business partners.

In 2012, information about various irregularities with Destiny began to surface. Allegations were brought against the company that it laundered around Tk4,500 crore of investors' money.

In the same year, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), after launching a probe into the allegations, filed two cases with the Kalabagan police station in the capital.

On 27 November that year, the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court ordered the confiscation of all immovable and movable properties of Destiny Group and assigned the police to look after them.

Since then, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has been maintaining Destiny's properties in Dhaka, while the company's assets outside the capital are being looked after by the district police superintendents.

In 2012, the government promised the customers that they would get their money back.

However, there is no government initiative in sight to ensure refund of customers.




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