Top B''deshi panel to probe stock market debacle as shares rise

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Anisur Rahman

Dhaka, Jan 25 (PTI) Bangladesh has set up a top panelto probe last week''s stock market debacle that had sparkedviolence, as shares on the Dhaka Stock Exchange today soaredwhen the market re-opened after weeks of plunges.

Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith said thegovernment has constituted a three-member high-powered bodyheaded by former Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor IbrahimKhaled to investigate into the last week�s stock marketplunges.

"The committee and its terms were finalized ahead ofPrime Minister''s tour abroad and it will start its work fromThursday," he told a press briefing on the sidelines of anational economic council meeting with Sheikh Hasina in thechair.

The minister said the names of the two other committeemembers and their terms of reference would be made publictomorrow. He said the probe panel has been asked to submit itsreport in next three months.

"The committee was also empowered to co-opt members ifrequired for the investigation," Muhith said.

The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong StockExchange (CSE) resumed trading after two days of recess, withthe main bourse in the capital soaring by 494.73 to become6821 points. The market remained stable until its closure at 3pm.

During trading, 248 companies witnessed an increase intheir shares and 10 companies suffered a decline.

Muhith�s ealier announced a series of bailout measuresunder which the merchant banks were asked to reinvest theirprofits made from the volatile share market in a bid to bringback normalcy to the capital market.

The minister also said that the under the rescuecampaign, the recently introduced circuit breaker system wouldbe lifted, the current book-building method would besuspended, companies would be allowed to buy-back their sharesand Bangladesh Bank will remain "soft" on banks exposure tostocks.

Bangladesh''s stock market was closed for the past twodays after a crash that caused fund losses of millions tosmall investors as the benchmark DGEN fell nearly 1,800 pointsbetween December and January.

The chief of the just constituted probe body told atelevision talk show that bailout measures would "not (be)adequate" unless stern measures were taken against the"manipulation culprits" and the reconstitution of theregulatory Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

"These influential culprits can do and undo manythings, they can even murder people for their interests...onthe other hand unless the regulatory body is reconstitutedwith appointment of competent people," said Khaled, currentlythe chairman of the state-run Agriculture Bank.

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