The e-tailer bosses stand accused of embezzlement and cheating customers
A Dhaka court has granted police three days to interrogate Evaly CEO and Managing Director Mohammad Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin, chairperson of the e-commerce platform, in custody over fraud charges brought against them by a customer.
Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Atikul Islam remanded them on Friday after police produced in the court seeking 10 days in custody.
Rassel and his wife were detained on Thursday by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) following a raid at their flat in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur.
The raid came hours after one Arif Baker brought charges of fraud and issuance of death threats against Rassel and Nasrin in a case filed with Gulshan police station in the morning.
According to the case details, the plaintiff saw Evaly’s advertisement in May this year, following which he placed orders worth Tk3,10,000 on the ecommerce site.
As of Thursday, Evaly had yet to deliver Baker’s ordered products.
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Baker had contacted Evaly and Rassel, to which the managing director allegedly responded with death threats.
The case claims financial damages as well as mental stress due to the incident.
After the two were taken to RAB Headquarters, its spokesperson Commander Khondokar Al Moin told the media that the couple had been arrested based on previous complaints of fraud and embezzlement.
“From his [Rassel’s] possession, some business documents were recovered… After initial interrogation, according to the law, the two will be handed over to the police station concerned,” he added.
RAB Legal and Media wing Assistant Director ANM Imran Khan told Dhaka Tribune that another raid is likely to be carried out at Evaly Headquarters in Dhaka’s Sobhanbag area.
How things went downhill for Evaly
Rassel and Nasrin were first sued over fraud and harassment on August 25, but complaints against the ecommerce platform had been making the rounds on social media long before.
According to Evaly, the company has Tk543 crore in liabilities — much higher than the amount found by an initial probe of Bangladesh Bank.
Of this, it owes Tk311 crore to customers and Tk206 crore to merchants.
Following the central bank’s report, the Commerce Ministry asked the Home Ministry to file a case against Evaly over the alleged embezzlement of Tk338 crore taken as advance from customers.
Several banks, including Brac Bank, Bank Asia, Dhaka Bank, City Bank, Mutual Trust Bank and Prime Bank have already suspended transactions with Evaly.
According to Rassel, who repeatedly took to social media to garner support, most of the liabilities had been incurred due to business development and promotional expenses.
However, former employees of the company said Evaly had spent money lavishly on corporate gifts and tours.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has also written to several government organizations seeking documents on Evaly.
Earlier, a Dhaka court also banned Rassel and Nasrin from travelling abroad amid an ongoing probe into charges of embezzlement.