by Our Correspondent in Dhaka –
A Dhaka court has sentenced a hospital owner, arrested in July over allegedly faking thousands of Covid-19 test reports, to life in prison for in an arms case, officials said on Monday.
Prosecutor Abu Abdullah said a special court handed down the punishment to Mohammad Shahed, chairman of Regent Hospital Limited, in presence of the lone accused in a crowded courtroom for possessing unlicensed firearm and bullet.
Shahed, who is accused in at least 60 other fraud cases including the faking of Covid-19 test reports, was arrested on July 15 from a remote village southwestern Satkhira district after lawmen sealed off his hospital in Dhaka for issuing reports without conducting coronavirus tests.
Abdullah said investigations are being in progress in the faking case.
The court cross-examined 11 witnesses after the investigators pressed charges against Shahed for possessing the firearms. The trial started on August 27, nearly a month after police seized a pistol and a bullet from his car in Dhaka.
Shahed was trying to cross into neighbouring India through the porous border as he was on the run since his hospital was sealed off on July 7 by the Rapid Action Battalion.
Nine of his staff members were also arrested after investigators found at least 6,000 fake Covid-19 reports were issued at the hospital.
The hospital’s permission to carry out Covid-19 tests was revoked as its reports had falsely indicated that some had tested positive and that others had falsely tested negative.
The health facilities were charged also with collecting exorbitant fees from patients, violating an agreement with the government to treat novel coronavirus patients free of cost.