'He told me what he would do and I told him to face it and go to the court if he had something to say'
Regent Hospital owner Md Shahed has been absconding for four days since the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) raided the Uttara and Mirpur branches of the hospital on July 6. He has 32 cases against him and has been wandering around under the nose of police for a long time.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal insists he will not be able to escape no matter how big a fraud he may be. A letter from the Home Ministry on September 27, 2016, accused Shahed of being a fraudster for falsely identifying himself as an army officer and called for action from police headquarters.
Addressing reporters at his Dhanmondi residence on Friday morning, the home minister said some of his acquaintances have taken treatment at Regent Hospital and Shahed had called him on the day of the raid.
“He [Shahed] maybe got my contact through an acquaintance. He told me that everything was being sealed off, and I said he must have done something wrong because they don’t seal off a place without a reason,” the home minister.
“He told me what he would do and I told him to face it and go to the court if he had something to say. That is all I said,” Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal added.
The home minister also said: “The prime minister did not give exemption to her MPs. She is not giving concessions to the leaders of her party. If Shahed's crime is proved, there is no question of giving a waiver. He must be punished.
“RAB and police are looking for him. We think we will be able to provide information about Shahed very soon,” he said.
Dhaka Tribune was able to contact Shahed on the day of the RAB raid. At the time, he had said his father was ill and that he would speak later. Afterwards, his phone was found to be switched off.
Shahed’s wife Sadia Arabi Rimmy told media that he had called her on the incident day. He told her that he had gotten himself into a little bit of trouble and would not return home. When she asked about his whereabouts, he replied: “I am fine, I am safe.”
In 2008, Sadia moved back to her mother's house when Shahed’s Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) scam was disrupted, and she did not move back for two years. She does not have any detailed knowledge about his businesses.
Sadia also said Shahed had never been in the army.
When asked whether she wanted to see her husband face trial, she replied: “We have nothing to say about this case. We are stunned by these events. The state will decide. If Shahed has done these things, he will be punished even if we say no. That is the rule of law.”
In such cases everyone desires justice, she added.
Meanwhile, RAB Legal and Media Wing Director Lt Col Ashik Billah told Dhaka Tribune: “We are on alert. We have multiple intelligence teams working in and outside Dhaka. We will be able to arrest Shahed quickly.”
Uttara West police station Officer In-charge (OC) Tapan Chandra Saha said RAB had handed over another accused - Tariqul Islam, alias Tarek Shibli, public relations officer and spokesperson of the Regent Group and a close aide to Shahed.
He added that the court had granted five-day remand for Tariqul and they are trying to arrest Shahed and any other fugitives.
On June 6, RAB raided the Uttara and Mirpur branches of the Regent Hospital on complaints that the hospital was issuing fake Covid-19 certificates, as well as charging exorbitant fees for Covid-19 testing and treatment of inpatients.