Staff Correspondent ;
Dhaka – Rapid Action Battalion has captured owner of a hospital that issued fake Covid-19 test reports in exchange for money and charged the patients for exorbitant fees violating a government agreement to treat novel coronavirus patients free of cost.
The battalion members found Mohammad Shahed alias Shahed Karim near a canal at a remote village in south-western Satkhira district bordering India early in the morning.
He was captured as he was trying to cross into neighbouring India by a boat through the porous border to avert legal course against him.
On his arrest, Shahed, also reportedly accused in dozens of fraud cases, was flown back to Dhaka and being interrogated at RAB headquarters, said battalion spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ashique Billah.
The latest allegations of fraud are that he led issuance of fake Covid-19 test reports at his hospital and he secured money in exchange for issuing the certificates without conducting any test. The reports had falsely indicated that some had tested positive and that others had falsely tested negative.
The government sealed off two branch of his hospital and the headquarters of his business group Regent in Dhaka on July 7 after the investigators found the hospital issued more than 6,000 fake reports.
The hospital also charged fess from the patients in violation of an agreement with the government that the covid-19 patients would be treated free of cost.
Nine of his staff members, including the managing director of Regent Group, were arrested earlier for their alleged involvement in the scam.
Shahed, who had posted photographs with senior ruling party leaders and many VVIPs on his Facebook account, has gone into hiding after the lawmen sealed off his business establishments.
Many trolled Shahed on the social media as he made his fortune apparently selling the names of the ruling party leaders and thus he managed the agreement with the government to run Cocid-19 treatment at his health facilities, which he ran without renewing license.
Bangladesh has reported a total of 190,057 cases of novel coronavirus with 2,424 deaths since the first cases were diagnosed on March 8.
The South Asian country has been harshly criticized after many passengers who had traveled from there to Italy tested positive for Covid-19 despite carrying reports that they were negative.
A physician of a public hospital was arrested on Sunday for her alleged involvement in issuing fake Covid-19 test reports by another private health center in Dhaka.
The law enforcement agencies are trying to trace the other who were involved with the scam.