The court ordered remand has been put on hold after Papia fell ill and later over the Covid-19 pandemic
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has been waiting for the past five months to take Shamima Nur Papia, accused in one of the country's most talked-about cases in recent times, into remand for interrogation.
Papia, after serving just one day in remand out of 14 days granted by the court, has been shown sick and thus RAB could not glean important further details of her alleged crimes as she was taken to jail discontinuing the remaining 13 remand days.
After all these months RAB is now hoping to take her to remand again, provided the jail authorities submit a report for the court's satisfaction that Papia has recovered from her illnesses.
She has fully recovered
Anower Hossain, jailer of Kashimpur Women's Central Jail in Gazipur, said: ''Papia became sick a number of times due to hormonal reasons and cold. But now, she is doing alright.”
An official at the Kashimpur Women's Central Jail hospital said: “Papia was treated by a gynaecologist on the jail premises and is taking medicine according to her prescription. She is now fully recovered and is in her prison cell.”
If the court gives permission to take the expelled Jubo Mohila League leader Papia on the remaining 13 days of remand, she will be interrogated on the money laundering case filed against her, investigators said.
Her health condition is better and the investigators want to execute her remand soon, which was on hold due to her being sick and later because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Investigators were said to have found around Tk4 crore worth of hidden assets of the expelled Narsingdi Jubo Mohila League general secretary.
They also obtained information through various sources about Papia having multiple assets at various places including Dhaka city.
Earlier, law enforcement agencies suspected that Papia laundered large amounts of money. At this stage, it is necessary to interrogate Papia and her husband Mofizur Rahman alias Sumon Chowdhury.
Charges against Papia
Earlier, on February 22, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Papia and her husband, along with their accomplices from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, while they were trying to flee the country. At that time, counterfeit banknotes, foreign currencies, and cash were seized from them.
RAB also raided Papia's presidential suite at the Westin Hotel in Gulshan and her house in the Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area of the capital.
After the arrest, RAB filed four cases against Papia and her husband along with their accomplices at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and Airport police stations, under the Special Powers Act.
The charges against Papia and her accomplices include illegal possession of weapons, money laundering, and possession of counterfeit currencies.
RAB already filed a charge sheet of one of the cases for possession of illegal arms recovered from her house.
Earlier, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) court granted a total of 14 days of remand against Papia along with associates after RAB filed a petition in the case of carrying fake currency, at the Airport police station.
''We will execute the remand as per the court order and if the jail authority confirms her recovery from sickness,” the RAB 1 official said.
According to RAB Papia was the ringleader of a gang and smuggled counterfeit notes. It was also revealed that she was involved in illegal arms business and drug trading, and ran a prostitution racket.
Apart from RAB forces, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) are also investigating the money laundering case against Papia.
The court had granted three days of remand against Papia but the remand was not executed due to her being sick, Imtiaz Ahmed, CID's Organized Crime Division chief said.
However, the CID has sent letters to 24 financial institutions, including the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of Bangladesh Bank, seeking information on Papia’s money laundering.
“We have gathered a lot of information on it but some information is yet to be received from government institutions due to Covid-19. After executing the remand and getting all information everything will be revealed,” the CID official said.
ACC officials said the investigation has been slow for a long time as many of their officials have been infected with Covid-19.