Regent’s Shahed reveals ‘a lot of information’ to RAB

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-07-15 20:35:46 BdST

Mohammad Shahed alias Shahed Karim, arrested on charges of embezzling money from businesses by boasting influence and recently from patients by issuing fake COVID-19 test reports, has revealed “a lot of information” to the RAB.

Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun, the Rapid Action Battalion director general, briefed the media in Dhaka on Wednesday afternoon about the arrest of the Regent Hospital chairman in Satkhira’s Debhata.

RAB personnel escorting Mohammad Shahed, the disgraced chairman of Regent Hospital, after raiding his office in Dhaka's Uttara. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

The suspect was trying to cross the border by a boat early in the morning, the RAB said. The law-enforcing agency helicoptered him to Dhaka and raided a house, used by Shahed as his office, in Uttara later. It seized Tk 146,000 fake currency notes during the raid.

“Shahed has said many things, but we can’t tell you about them for the sake of investigation,” Abdullah said.

He said they expect to squeeze out more information from Shahed in interrogation.

The Regent Group boss used to take photos with influential people and use those in fraudulent activities, the RAB chief said.    

Shahed introduced himself as retired or incumbent army officer, media personality, or top government official to carry out the fraud, Abdullah said.

Regent Hospital had signed a deal with the government for treatment of COVID-19 patients when the first coronavirus cases had been confirmed in Bangladesh.

He had recently appeared in TV talk-shows and identified himself as an influential person with links to high-ups in the government and the ruling party.

Mohammad Shahed in RAB custody after the arrest of the Regent Hospital chairman accused of fraud at Satkhira border on Wednesday. Photo: RAB

“He presented himself as a person with clean image, but actually he was cunning,” the RAB chief said.

The Rapid Action Battalion raided the hospital on Jul 6 after receiving complaints that it was issuing fake coronavirus test reports.

It was revealed that the government signed the deal though the hospital had not renewed its licence for years.

Shahed went into hiding after his involvement in other incidents of fraud began coming out following the raid.

Media workers gather in Dhaka's Uttara during a RAB raid on an office of controversial brusinessman Regent Group Chairman Mohammad Shahed after his arrest in Satkhira. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

The RAB handed him along with Regent Group Managing Director Masud Parvez to the police’s Detective Branch, who are investigating the COVID-19 scam case, after the duo’s health check-up at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Shahed underwent ECG and chest x-ray while the doctors prescribed medication for Masud, said Inspector Bachchu Mia of the police camp at the hospital.

It was Masud who gave information leading to the arrest of Shahed in Satkhira, the native district of the Regent boss, Abdullah said.

A RAB helicopter carrying Regent Hospital Chairman Mohammad Shahed landed at the Old Airport in Dhaka on Wednesday morning after his arrest in Satkhira in different cases of fraud, including a fake COVID-19 test report scandal. Photo: Liton Haider

The RAB arrested Masud in Gazipur on Tuesday. The duo and 15 others are accused in a case over the COVID-19 scam.

The RAB chief said Shahed changed location frequently in Dhaka, Cox’s Bazar, Cumilla and Satkhira over the past week to evade arrest.

The RAB seized a loaded unlicenced firearm from Shahed during the arrest. He had shaved off his moustache, darkened his hair and wore a burqa for disguise, the RAB said.

Mohammad Shahed, chairman of Regent Hospital, was airlifted to Dhaka's old airport after he was apprehended by RAB on the Satkhira frontier for his roles in a COVID-19 test scam that roiled Bangladesh’s healthcare sector. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

Mohammad Shahed, chairman of Regent Hospital, was airlifted to Dhaka's old airport after he was apprehended by RAB on the Satkhira frontier for his roles in a COVID-19 test scam that roiled Bangladesh’s healthcare sector. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

Besides swindling money from businesses, Shahed embezzled tens of millions of takas from ordinary people in the name of multi-level marketing or MLM business, the RAB chief said.

The RAB believes Shahed has at least 50 cases against him.

More people began complaining about him after the scam was unearthed, Abdullah said.