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Monday, October 1, 2007
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Bashundhara Group

Akbar, sons, wife get 8 years for tax evasion

An anti-graft tribunal yesterday handed down eight-year imprisonment on five high-ups of Bashundhara Industrial Complex Ltd, including Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, in a tax evasion case.

The court also jailed an auditor for three years for assisting them in evading taxes.

The other four who got eight years are Akbar's wife Afroza Begum and their sons Sadat Sobhan, Safiyat Sobhan Sanbir and Sayem Sobhan, all directors of the company.

MM Kuddus, proprietor of Kuddus & Company, which audits the company's financial statement, was jailed for three years for assisting Bashundhara in dodging taxes.

The convicts got five years of rigorous imprisonment for concealing information and three years of simple imprisonment for giving false information.

The Third Special Court of Judge Shahed Nuruddin has also fined them Tk 8.3 crore, which is to be paid by the convicts according to their shares in the company. They will have to spend behind bars one more year if they fail to pay the fine.

The court has also ordered confiscation of company property worth about Tk 22.5 crore as it was concealed in the wealth declaration submitted to the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

The convicts, however, will have to serve five years' jail term, as both the sentences run concurrently. All the convicts are on the run since filing of the case.

The court set up at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar MP Hostel awarded the punishment for committing two offences under sections 165 and 166 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 1984.

The jail term of the convicts will begin from the day of their surrender or arrest.

Kabiruddin Mollah, deputy tax commissioner of Circle-8 of the NBR, filed the case against seven and the company in connection with evading Tk 8.48 crore income tax between the fiscal years 2004 and 2007.

The other accused in the case is detained Deputy Director Mostafizur Rahman. The court did not deliver verdict against him as the higher court stayed proceedings of the case against him following a petition filed by the defence lawyer.

In the complaint, Kabir said Sobhan and others repeatedly gave false information to the income tax department about their real income and expenditure and did not show their income tax return.

Earlier on July 25, a Dhaka court issued warrant of arrest against them.

Police on August 4 attached the movable and immovable property of Sobhan and his family and sealed their Gulshan house following a court order passed on July 31.

A Dhaka court on September 25 issued warrant of arrest against Bashundhara Group Chairman Sobhan alias Shah Alam and 22 others in connection with another graft case.

Sanbir, son of Sobhan, is also an accused in Humayun Kabir Sabbir killing case. A Dhaka court issued arrest warrant against him on July 9 and also asked authorities to send the warrant through Interpol to bring him back to Bangladesh.

BNP EX-LAWMAKER GRAFT CASE
Meanwhile, judgment in the graft case against detained former lawmaker of BNP Manjurul Ahsan Munshi, his wife and two sons was not given yesterday as Judge Ashraf Hossain of the Fifth Special Court has not recovered from illness.

Judgment in the case will be given on October 9.

The judge fell ill on September 20, the earlier date of delivering verdict, and fixed September 30 for the next day for verdict.

On March 27, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the case with Gulshan Police Station against Manjurul, his wife Mazeda Ahsan and their sons Rizviul Ahsan and Rezwanul Ahsan for submitting "false" wealth statement to the watchdog.

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