Published:  08:15 AM, 11 June 2024

Court admits ACC charges against Khalidi

Court admits ACC charges against Khalidi
A Dhaka court has taken into cognisance the ACC charge sheet against's Toufique Imrose Khalidi, while the company whose investment triggered the process five years ago has moved the same court to have the funds in question released.

The Anti-Corruption Commission charge sheet claims that an amount of Tk 430 million has been discovered in bank accounts owned by the editor-in-chief. The ACC says the money has been "illegally" earned and "laundered".

Almost the entire amount invested by Bangladesh's second largest asset management company, LR Global, remains frozen for nearly five years. The funds are held in different bank accounts belonging to Bangladesh News 24 Hours Ltd,'s holding company, and Khalidi. Under pressure from regulators Securities and Exchange Commission, LR Global is seeking to get the funds released hoping to balance the books of six mutual funds, from which the money came from. Dhaka Metropolitan Senior Special Judge Mohammed Ash Shams Joglul Hossain will now determine who will oversee the case proceedings and whether LR Global will be allowed to be a party to the proceedings.

The judge has not set a date for the framing of charges, nor has a date been determined for the next hearing.

ACC lawyer Mahmud Hossain Jahangir said the case might be reassigned to a different special judges court for the hearing on charge-framing. In that case, the hearing will commence once the documents are transferred to the new court.

Khalidi was present in court, which upheld his bail.

The LR Global petition, filed by lawyer Shahinur Islam Oni, asserts that their interest in the case is tied to their investment.


The authorities moved swiftly after announced the investment by LR Global in a report on Oct 13, 2019, saying it will spend the money on the expansion of news automation and creativity.

The disclosure first prompted a decision from the Securities and Exchange Commission to "halt" the deal. For its part, the ACC soon afterwards weighed in, leaving certain bank accounts of Khalidi and frozen. After receiving a letter from the anti-graft agency, Khalidi appeared in the ACC twice in November 2019.

The letter received by Khalidi on Nov 5 said his statement was required in connection with the allegations of "transferring a huge amount of money" by "hiding location by himself and", and "earning wealth inconsistent with his known income through illegal activities".

The ACC case states that Khalidi sold 20,000 of his shares in for Tk 250 million and raised another Tk 250 million from issuing another 20,000 shares to LR Global.

The commission alleges that the actual value of the 40,000 shares is Tk 4 million, but each was sold at Tk 12,500, with Tk 12,400 as premium.
But Khalidi said BRAC EPL valued at Tk 3.71 billion.

The case alleges the asset valuation report was "fake" and out of the Tk 500 million investment, Tk 420 million was deposited into accounts with HSBC, Eastern Bank, Southeast Bank and Mutual Trust Bank.

"Toufique Imrose Khalidi obtained the movable asset in an illegal way, which is inconsistent with his known income," the ACC alleges.

After the ACC began examining the so-called allegation of corruption, Khalidi in an article detailed the circumstances under which entered the deal, where the money was, why he himself sold some of his shares and what happened after the deal.

"The matter has been probed by more than one state agency-publicly as well as, may I dare say now, behind the scenes-because the allegations or rumours/gossips (spread through social media and other means in the lead-up to the ACC move) were of serious nature," he wrote.

"The cruellest part was, those who orchestrated it all knew all too well that money only changed hands between two companies incorporated in Bangladesh and operated under Bangladesh laws. Yet the vengeful and powerful people were given free rein when they acted from behind the stage. And those who helped them spread the propaganda knew it too. And, again, those who prepared "reports" meant for people at the very top were fully aware of it too."

"Whose purpose are they trying to serve by trying to harm arguably the lone independent news publisher in Bangladesh which has been credited with many firsts, globally and nationally?

"Why was there an attempt to tarnish the image of both and the individual who runs it?" he aske


The written text changed in every step taken by the ACC - from investigations to summons to the first information report, a practice that a lawyer for Khalidi compared with the "tactic of moving the goalposts" by the prosecutor.

In 2020, the ACC went to the Supreme Court, challenging the bail Khalidi secured from the High Court, but the Appellate Division dismissed the ACC's petition and rebuked it for "wasting the court's time".

Khalidi, who consistently denies any wrongdoing, petitioned the higher court for quashment of the case in the second week of April 2022, describing it as "unsubstantial and repressive".

Although had publicised the investment in detail, the ACC accused Khalidi of gaining wealth beyond means. The ACC itself referred in the case to the reports published by on the asset manager's investment.

The antigraft agency sought time on several occasions after Khalidi pleaded with the High Court in April 2022 that the case be quashed. The hearing was also deferred several times as no lawyer from the ACC was present for hearings.

ACC counsel Khurshid Alam Khan in June 2022 had asked for time, saying the commission would submit an investigation report "soon".
More than a year later, in August 2023, Khurshid said the ACC needed more time as it was not prepared for the hearing.

As the ACC lawyer was not present on Oct 10, the hearing was deferred again. The ACC lawyers sought more time on Oct 17, presenting a letter from the official investigating the case.

A judge at the time said he saw no problem in granting Khalidi reprieve from court appearance while the investigation was ongoing.
The ACC lawyer argued that such an order may hamper the investigation.

The judge then deferred the order by eight weeks.

In January, after hearing the writ petition filed by Khalidi, the court issued a rule with orders in favour of Khalidi, asking why the case against him will not be quashed.

The ACC chairman and Dhaka's deputy commissioner were ordered to respond to the rule within four weeks.

The court also passed an order excusing Khalidi from appearances at hearings until a charge sheet was filed.


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