National, Front Page

Sikder Group’s stand against published false news

Published : 11 May 2024 11:08 PM

The headline "Ron-Rick losing everything within three years of father's death" published in the Daily Bonik Barta on May 8, 2024, has attracted the attention of the Sikder Group due to its reliance on gossip and falsehoods, which are filled with misinformation and create confusion in the public mind.

The Sikder Group is a renowned business conglomerate, led by the late freedom fighter and one of the key organizers of the liberation war, Mr. Zainul Haque Sikder, which has been operating for more than six decades. The contribution of the Group to the country's economic and social development is unparalleled. On the contrary, the allegations and information presented in the published report are entirely baseless and unfounded; fabricated without any reference to valid sources. Sikder Group strongly protests against such misleading, erroneous, and agenda-driven news. We firmly state that no member of the Sikder family has sold or transferred any shares of National Bank Ltd, nor is there any plan for such a transfer in the future. The notion of transferring or selling shares of Begum Monowara Sikder, Mr. Rick Haque Sikder, and Mr. Ron Haque Sikder is entirely fictional. Such false and gossip-based news is detrimental to responsible journalism. We believe that publishing irresponsible and biased news, and using sensationalist language and misinformation, as seen in Bonik Barta, undermines the credibility of a leading newspaper. We want to assure our clients and well-wishers that the Sikder Group has not engaged in any discussions with any other group regarding the transfer of any ownership or property.

We believe that a malicious conspiracy has been ongoing against the two younger sons of late Mr. Zainul Haque Sikder, Mr. Rick Haque Sikder and Mr. Ron Haque Sikder, for quite a long time, orchestrated by a group whose interests lie in hindering the country's current developmental trajectory. The published news also makes vague references such as "those who influence the government," "business gurus," "unscrupulous living," "criminal activities," "lordly authority," etc., which are entirely meaningless and are mentioned without specificity, thus casting them into derogatory light. Through this, Mr. Rick Haque Sikder and Mr. Ron Haque Sikder (whose business career were started with their respected father – Mr. Zainul Haque Sikder) have been gradually subjected to personal attacks. They are not just some random businessmen. After completing their education in the United States, they have left a life of comfort and luxury to learn the ins and outs of business in this country; alongside their father, over the past three decades or more. Embroidered with father's dreams in the heart, today, as when they are taking the helm of the family business group, it is precisely at this juncture that this malicious environment created by some self-centered people, aiming to serve selfish interests, is working as a syndicate, resulting in financial losses to the business group, which is undesirable in any way.

Their typical pattern of conspiracy has also been highlighted in this report. The information presented regarding the transfer of shares or ownership of “Zainul Haque Sikder Women's Medical College and Hospital” is entirely baseless. This institution, the pride of Mr. Zainul Haque Sikder's soul, is the country's first women's medical college hospital, which has made significant contributions through health services, especially during various emergencies such as the Grenade Attack on 21st August and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the first of its kind, well-known as a modern hospital specializing in open-heart surgery. Therefore, there is no question of transferring ownership of Sikder Medical College.

The information published in the news regarding the business loans of the Sikder Group also contains words that seem to encourage scheming quarters. Here, both funded and non-funded loan details are presented together, leading to confusion in public mind. The presentation of loan details of companies managed by Rick Haque Sikder and Mr. Ron Haque Sikder, including Sikder Real Estate Limited – established by Mr. Zainul Haque Sikder, depicts a scenario where loans have been taken in contrary to banking regulations. But in reality, those were taken for

business operations against collateral (charge created on business assets), at least 1.50 times of the loan amount. It is noteworthy that the total business assets of the Sikdar Group far exceed the amount of its business loans. However, gradual media trials and defamation by conspiracy continue to hamper our normal business activities.

The report highlighted an issue over credit cards usages by Mr. Rick Haque Sikder and Mr. Ron Haque Sikder; trying to defame them to the whole of the nation. It was falsified that their credit cards were issued as against their travel quota – which is totally far from truth. Rather than those cards were against their personal foreign currency accounts (FC Account). Their regular transactions were done through these cards linked with these FC accounts. AND all the outstanding including interest payments and other charges are repaid in full (nil balance to the cards now) from Group’s foreign earnings in foreign currency, complying with appropriate banking regulations three years back. We seek everyone's cooperation in keeping faith on independence of country’s judiciary without resorting to media trials.

The allegations of money laundering through National Bank Limited mentioned in the report are baseless. The report states that bank accounts were used in fund transfer, that is hilarious. Any elementary level financial reporter first grasps the legitimate way of fund transfer is through proper banking channel; i.e Bank account. That too routed through the approval of the Bangladesh Bank. But the suggestive choice of words, indication have been made in the report - hints the gentle issue as a significant matter. In absence to knowledge, the reporter unintentionally blames to Bangladesh Bank and questioned on its efficiency just to establish his intended attempts to defame us and spreading of his personal motives of aggression.

The half-truth information spread in the report over National Bank Limited’s board restructuring is also baseless. The formation and restructuring of board are standard procedures. Sikdar Group has come to lead National Bank Ltd since its establishment. Thus, we congratulate the recent Board of Directors changes. This has nothing to do with our shareholding status of the bank. Following the ideals of the late freedom fighter Zainul Haque Sikder, members of the family are actively contributing to the group's development under their mother's leadership. We call for everyone's cooperation. So, we are urging honorable Prime Minister and all concerned to pay attention to such misconduct – preaching of false and fabricated propaganda; as she and her government is also victim of such heinous crime. We believe that, amid the current economic situation, a section opposing to the government (inside and outsiders too) is trying to portray the government's supporters as villains to divert general people’s support in plotting of their broader conspiracy.

We urge everyone to refrain from presenting erroneous, confusing, and baseless information regarding Sikdar Group. Otherwise, legal action will be taken against those responsible in due course.