RAB and other agencies had been on a manhunt for him since then around the country, especially in Dhaka, Cox’s Bazar, Comilla and Satkhira
The law enforcement agencies have finally caught Regent Hospital Chairman Md Shahed, alias Shahed Karim, after eight days of investigations and raids in Dhaka and different districts.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested an armed Shahed on the bank of Labangaboti canal in Komarpur village under Satkhira’s Debhata upazila at around 5am on Wednesday, as he was trying to flee across the border to India.
Shahed and the hospital which he owns, have been the talk of the town since the beginning of this month after security agencies raided the hospital over the involvement of its authorities in providing fake Covid-19 certificates to people and embezzling money from patients.
Ever since the July 6 raids on both Regent Hospital branches in Dhaka’s Uttara and Mirpur, many reports of Shahed’s fraudulent activities have been coming to light.
RAB and other agencies had been on a manhunt for him since then around the country, especially in Dhaka, Cox’s Bazar, Comilla and Satkhira.
Based on the tip-off provided by Masud Parvez, managing director of the hospital who was arrested on Tuesday evening, Shahed’s location was identified.
With the help of the air wing of RAB, intelligence, and personnel of RAB-6, director of intelligence wing of RAB Lieutenant Colonel Sarwar Bin Kashem conducted a special drive and arrested Shahed.
Shahed had re-sized his moustache and beard and dyed his white hair black. He wore a burqa to hide his identity, said RAB officials.
After he was arrested, Shahed was flown to Dhaka by a helicopter, which landed at the old airport in Tejgaon at around 9am.
After returning to Dhaka, the elite force raided Shahed’s office at Uttara Sector 11, and claimed to have recovered around Tk1.4 lakh from there.
Later Shahed was taken to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) at around 5:30pm for a medical checkup. The law enforcers left the hospital with him after around 40 minutes.
“We have conducted X-ray and ECG on Shahed after listening to him about his problems. As per the report, his condition is well and he has no health issues,” said Dr Md Alauddin of DMCH.
In the evening, the accused was handed over to the detective branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
Shahed wandered around the country
Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, director general (DG) of RAB said, “He [Shahed] wandered around Dhaka, Cox’s Bazaar, Satkhira and Comilla concealing his identity. Eventually, he tried to cross the border through Satkhira.”
The RAB DG said Shahed changed his location constantly. For example, he left Dhaka and then returned to the city.
“He used different modes of transport while roaming around, including private cars and trucks. He even walked sometimes. We arrested him while he was crossing a canal by boat,” Mamun said.
The DG said: “If we could trace every point he was passing through, we could have caught him at that point. When we had his location pinpointed, we apprehended him.”
About the involvement of high profile political figures in the scandal, he said: “Shahed has revealed a lot of information. But we cannot disclose it in the interest of investigations.”
Asked if he had been sheltered by someone influential while on the run, Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun said: “He has just been arrested.”
He did not answer the question of how such an alleged criminal with multiple cases against him could wander around freely and take pictures while meeting the president of the country.
The RAB DG said Shahed had even cheated rickshaw pullers and businesspersons. He misappropriated money in the name of his Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) business.
Shahed was arrogant during interrogation
Shahed’s attitude during his interrogation was arrogant, said RAB Legal and Media Wing Director Lt Col Ashik Billah.
He said he would deal with his problems legally anyway and come out of jail, RAB Legal and Media Wing Director Lt Col Ashik Billah told journalists.
“In primary interrogation we found that Shahed had crossed the border illegally through brokers and visited India several times. We got some information about the brokers and action will be taken against them,” said the official.
He said Shahed was extremely cunning and an expert in deception. He can easily influence people through his deceiving words. He has done the same thing everywhere he has been to.
Home Minister says Shahed tarnished country’s image
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that Mohammad Shahed had tarnished the image of Bangladesh before the whole world by selling fake Covid-19 certificates.
“When everyone else was busy fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Shahed was busy cheating. No miscreant will get away from the hands of this government,” he said.
“It was a clever plan to dedicate his hospital for Covid-19 treatment,” he added.
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“The law enforcers are working to ensure maximum punishment for him,” said Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal.
He added that no one in the party or outside the party would get away with such cheating.
Shahed had used television talk shows and pictures with various persons as a front for cheating. However, those who were involved in cheating with him would not be spared, the minister said.
Regent Hospital tested about 10,000 Covid-19 samples, and of them about 6,000 reports were fake. Besides, Shahed’s hospital charged patients for Covid-19 tests, and on the other hand submitted bills for the tests to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).