A mobile court aided by Rapid Action Battalion, busted a diagnostic centre in the capital which had been running pathological tests without proper equipment and producing fake results.
The court conducted the raid at National Diagnostic Complex and Specialist Consultation Centre in Mohammadpur yesterday, sentencing its owner Md Abdul Baki Bokul, 40, and its lone technician Md Saimon Ali, 22, to a year in prison. The court also fined Bokul Tk2 lakh and Saimon Tk1 lakh.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, AHM Anwar Pasha, executive magistrate at RAB, said the mobile court conducted the raid along with a RAB 2 team at the diagnostic centre, located near the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, around 11:30am.
During the raid, the court found that the centre was conducting fake tests as well as faking doctors’ signatures. It also had no certified technician to operate its only x-ray machine.
The court talked to a patient named Parvin Akhter, 25, who had just received her test reports, at the cost of Tk1,500, during the drive. Though the diagnostic centre prepared her reports on several blood tests, the court found that its microscope was broken, it had no blood cell counter, and without making any slides of blood they have prepared her test results.
Saimon, one of the convicted frauds, said their microscope went out of commission a month ago, and since then they had been preparing test results based on assumption. Based on these reports, doctors prescribed medication to the patients.
The staff collected blood, urine and other samples from the patients, and later dumped them in the waste bin, the executive magistrate quoted Saimon.
“In his confession before the court, Saimon said they used to call the system ‘bucket test.’ It cost them no money,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
The two convicted also used the fake signature and seal of a doctor named Saiful Islam, whose identity – and existence – had yet to be confirmed when this report was filed.
According to the law, lab technicians are supposed to run the tests under the supervision of doctors, who are supposed to examine the reports before issuing them.
The court caught the centre’s owner Bokul when he was operating the x-ray machine. He had no training on how to operate the machine, which itself had a clearance certificate out of date.
The court asked the convicted to immediately shut down the facility, the executive magistrate told the Dhaka Tribune.
Maj Salauddin Ahmed, an RAB official, said some brokers lured patients from government hospitals to the diagnostic centre with the promise of hassle-free and low-cost service, earning over 50% commission from the tests.
Quoting Bokul, the RAB official said there are more than 1,000 active who collect patients, mostly coming from rural areas, from government hospitals and direct them toward some diagnostic centres involved in malpractice, earning themselves a handsome amount of money.