Police get three days to quiz Evaly CEO Rassel and his wife Nasrin, chairperson of the ecommerce platform
The online marketplace Evaly owes more than Tk1,000 crore to its customers and suppliers, claims Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
Its CEO Mohammad Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin, chairperson of the ecommerce platform, were unable to provide any plans or ways to clear the debt, RAB spokesperson Commander Khandaker Al Moin told a press conference on Friday.
In another development, a Dhaka court placed Rassel and Nasrin on a three-day remand in a case filed against them over fraud.
Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Atikul Islam remanded them on Friday after the police had produced them in the court seeking 10 days in custody.
RAB spokesperson Moin said that Rassel has acknowledged that his tactics of taking money from new customers to clear debts owed to old customers was lousy.
“During primary interrogation, Rassel said it was difficult to return the money of his customers in line with the recently formulated government rule regarding ecommerce business,” he added.
The government agencies concerned are of the opinion that if Rassel was given the six months he had sought to explain how he would meet the liabilities, more people might have been conned out of their money.
The Commerce Ministry recommended the Home Ministry to take action against Evaly on Tuesday over allegations of irregularities.
Two days later, an Evaly customer named Arif Baker brought charges of fraud and issuance of death threats against Rassel and Nasrin in the case filed with the Gulshan police station.
A RAB team subsequently raided the couple’s Mohammadpur flat and arrested them in the afternoon.
Evaly has only Tk30 lakh in bank
Quoting Rassel and Nasrin, RAB said Evaly owes more than Tk1,000 crore to its customers and suppliers but has only Tk30 lakh in its bank account.
Rassel had planned to enter the stock market after running his company for three years, said Commander Moin.
Also Read: Evaly's house of cards comes crashing down
Recent requests made by Rassel to extend times for refunding customers and paying vendors on different pretexts were just stalling techniques and he had planned to declare himself bankrupt after failing to repay the debt, according to RAB.
Evaly at one stage had some 2,000 management staff and 1,700 temporary employees. Due to the decline in business, there are currently 1,300 management staff and about 500 temporary employees, the RAB spokesperson said.
The employees were once paid a total salary of around Tk5 crore per month, which currently stands at Tk1.5 crore.
While many employees have not been paid since June, Rassel and Shamima each used to take a monthly salary of Tk5 lakh.
They also used two luxurious cars — a Range Rover and an Audi — at the company’s expense.
Ultimate goal was to sell Evaly
Rassel’s ultimate goal was to sell Evaly to a business giant after creating a large market valuation for his company, according to RAB.
He used to sponsor a lot of events — using customers’ money, not the company’s revenue — in order to attract investors.
One of the leading conglomerates in the country, Jamuna Group, was even reportedly going to invest Tk1,000 crore in Evaly in phases, but later decided against it, citing the latter’s tarnished reputation in the market.
Rassel completed his master’s degree in 2007 and MBA in 2013.
Also Read: Evaly begins layoffs, postpones salary
He used to teach at a coaching centre from 2009 to 2011, before working in the banking sector till 2017.
He later started Evaly’s activities in December 2018.
Customers, partners demand Rassel be freed
A group of merchants and customers of the e-commerce platform on Friday demonstrated at Shahbagh demanding the unconditional release of Mohammad Rassel.
They held a human chain program in the afternoon and chanted slogans. During the protest, they alleged that the case filed against Rassel was meant to harass him and destroy the e-commerce industry of Bangladesh.