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Dhaka Tribune

Regent Hospital owner Shahed barred from leaving country, close aide held

RAB arrests Tariqul Islam, alias Tarek Shibli, public relations officer and spokeperson of the Regent Group as well as close aide to Shahed

Update : 09 Jul 2020, 12:15 PM

Police have barred Regent Hospital Chairman Md Shahed, as well as other accused, from leaving the country over a case filed accusing him of Covid-19 certificate forgery and embezzlement.

Meanwhile, members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested a member of staff of Regent Hospital from Dhaka's Nakhalpara area on Thursday morning.

The arrestee is Tariqul Islam, alias Tarek Shibli, public relations officer and spokesperson of the Regent Group and a close aide to Shahed.

Uttara West police station OC Tapan Chandra Saha said that the police station had sent a letter to immigration police, asking them to take necessary steps to bar Shahed as well as the others accused from leaving the country.

They are investigating the matter very seriously, he added.

When the report was being filed, RAB was yet to hand over Tarek to the police station, he added.

Meanwhile, an official with immigration police confirmed receiving the letter.

RAB Director (legal and media wing) Lt Col Ashik Billah told Dhaka Tribune that based on a tip-off, a RAB team raided a house in Nakhalpara area and arrested Tariqul.

“He [Tariqul] has provided vital information,” he said.

Meanwhile, RAB also took Mohammad Ali Bashir, Shahed’s brother-in-law and head of the production company Telehom into custody, said the RAB director.

He said that Telehome's journey began in late 1995. The company has been producing television dramas for a long time. Bashir has been taken into RAB custody for questioning, based on the information that he used to produce plays with Shahed’s illicit money.

He was released later due to his lack of involvement in the Regent Hospital scam, he added.

When asked if the police had spoken to Shahed’s wife, Billah said that RAB learnt from an unauthorized source that Shahed called his wife and asked her to pay the rent for the Mirpur and Uttara buildings.

“We have written to the investigating officer [IO] so that Shahed cannot go out of the country in any way. We are also trying to arrest him and the other fugitives,” he said.

Earlier, on Monday, RAB conducted raids at the Uttara and Mirpur branches of the Regent Hospital in Dhaka and found that it had forged over 6,000 Covid-19 certificates and embezzled over Tk3 crore in the name of providing Covid-19 tests and treatment.

The mobile court, led by RAB Executive Magistrate Sarwoer Alam, on Tuesday raided the Regent Group head office in Uttara and seized some fake certificates, many unauthorized rapid testing kits and an unregistered jeep.

Sarwoer told reporters at a briefing that certificates were forged in the main office at Uttara Sector-12 and then sold to different people at a price of Tk 3,500 each.

A case was filed against 17 officials and staff of Regent Hospital, including its chairman, on Tuesday in connection with providing several thousand fake Covid-19 certificates and charging people for tests that should have been free. RAB also arrested eight people over the incident.

A Dhaka court sent seven officials and employees to a five-day remand the following day.

Shahed has been absconding since the incident.

The Regent Group main office and Uttara branch of the hospital have already been sealed off, police have said.

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