The warehouse of the company, which supplied fake products, was raided earlier this month
A mobile court of Dhaka district administration had raided a warehouse of Aparajita International earlier this month and found fake hand sanitizers, surgical masks, N95 masks, and PPE stocked without proper documents.
During the July 3 drive, according to the executive magistrate who led it, the company was fined Tk10,000 for failing to show valid documents and keeping the counterfeit products in an unhealthy environment in the warehouse — situated in front of Dhaka University’s Amar Ekushey Hall in Chankharpul area of the city.
Executive Magistrate Mahnaz Hossain Fariba told Dhaka Tribune on Saturday that Aparajita International owner Sharmin Jahan’s husband Md Sariful Alam was present at the scene and given the documents related to the fine.
A Dhaka court on Saturday also placed Sharmin on a three-day remand over a case filed by the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), accusing Aparajita International of supplying fake masks.
Executive Magistrate Mahnaz Hossain Fariba said that during the July 3 raid, she saw many people sitting together and chatting in front of a shop. When they sensed that a raid may take place they immediately pulled the shutters of the shop down.
Upon further inspection she saw that they converted a hotel into a warehouse and kept healthcare equipment in an unhealthy environment. There she saw fake hand sanitizers, surgical masks which were left open, N95 masks, and PPE.
She said: “When we asked for valid documents of the products, they did not submit any. According to the Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA), when someone produces or imports N95 masks they have to take legal permission.
“If any importer sells the masks to anyone, they must have some deed of agreement or signing document.”
However, they could not show any kind of documents. The representative Shariful told them they were not importers, they are suppliers. Their company name is Aparajita International, which supplies products to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital (BSMMU).
So, she asked for their work permit, she added saying she just wanted to see any kind of legal document.
A few hours later Shariful somehow managed the document of an importer from whom they allegedly bought the products; but it was not on paper, just a picture.
During that time, Shariful was talking to a woman over mobile phone, on loudspeaker. She suspected that the woman was Sharmin, the owner of Aparajita International.
“And they were very arrogant and giving references of different people,” she further added.
Mahnaz said that there were many allegations against them -- displaying the masks for sale by removing them from their packaging in a dirty and unhealthy environment, not being able to show legal documents in favour of importing N95 masks, keeping and selling counterfeit hand sanitizers, and stocking PPE, among others.
“Since Md Shariful Alam was present at the crime scene on behalf of the owner of Aparajita International, he was fined Tk10,000. We also destroyed that entire stock,” she said.
Who is Sharmin Jahan?
Aparajita International’s owner Sharmin Jahan served as the president of Chhatra League’s Kuwait Maitree Hall unit. She was also a member of the Awami League’s central sub-committee on women and children affairs.
Although she does not have any post in the party at present, she took the work order of supplying N-95 masks to BSMMU exercising her influence.
Instead of supplying the original masks, she supplied fake 'N-95' masks.
Sharmin Jahan had been on the run since the BSMMU authorities filed a case in the incident on Thursday. She was arrested by detective branch (DB) police from Shahbagh area at 10:15pm on Friday.