How Shahed made his way to Awami League subcommittee

  • >>Kazi Mobarak Hossain, Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-07-08 21:54:19 BdST

bdnews24

Many are asking how Mohammad Shahed made his way into the Awami League as his pictures with influential people are emerging on social media after the revelation that Regent Hospital, owned by him, allegedly issued fake COVID-19 test reports.

The authorities have sealed off the two branches of the hospital and its headquarters in Dhaka’s Uttara also on charges of billing patients wrongfully and ignoring reminders to renew its licence for years.

The Rapid Action Battalion in a case described Shahed as “cunning and greedy”.

His Facebook profile says he is a member of the international affairs subcommittee of the ruling party.

The people with him in photos on the page include the head of the government, ministers, MPs, top officials of law enforcement and top bureaucrats.

Some users have shared photos of Shahed with influential BNP leaders while some others have written how close he was to controversial businessman Giasuddin Al Mamun. He also became close to Hawa Bhaban, the centre of the BNP’s power, some claimed.

Shahed arrived in Dhaka from Satkhira during his final days in school, his mother Safia Karim had once been involved with the Mahila Awami League, locals said.

Two years after his arrest on charges of fraud in 2009, Shahed allegedly defrauded a number of people of millions of taka by opening a multi-level marketing business at Dhanmondi.

Later, he established Regent Group by using his influence on powerful people. Besides hospital, the company has college, university, real estate and hotel business.

Azizul Haque Rana, the general secretary of the last committee of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Dhaka Metropolitan North Unit, said Shahed had begun visiting influential Awami League leaders at their homes some years ago. But he had no affiliation with the Dhaka Metropolitan North Units of the party or its student wing.

Shahed has recently appeared in TV talk shows. His praising the government in the programmes gave the impression that he is a man of the ruling party.

He became directly involved with politics when the Awami League made him a member of the subcommittee in 2016.

How did he become a member of the subcommittee even after having no direct involvement with politics? An incumbent member of the subcommittee has held its Chairman Muhammad Zamir responsible for inducting Shahed into it.

Asking not to be named, the member told bdnews24.com that Shahed had a close relationship with Zamir, a former ambassador.

Zamir travelled by Shahed’s car to different party events, even arrived together in meetings of the current subcommittee though Shahed had been a member of the last subcommittee, the member said.

Shammi Ahmed, the international affairs secretary of the Awami League and member secretary of the subcommittee, confirmed that Shahed is not a member of the current subcommittee and they were yet to draft a new one.

Asked how he could join meetings of the current committee, Shammi said, “We could not ask him to leave because he used to arrive with a respected person.”

Chairman Zamir also said Shahed had been a member of the last subcommittee, not the current one.

He dismissed the claim that he used to bring Shahed to the meetings of the current subcommittee. “I can’t imagine how someone can level such an allegation,” he said.

“I used to know him like 30 to 40 others present in the meetings did,” Zamir added.

Bahauddin Nasim, a joint general secretary of the Awami League, claimed the party has never given any post to Shahed.

Referring to photos of Shahed dining with senior BNP leaders, Nasim said, “New Awami Leaguers like Shahed are damaging the party and the country.”

He also said “frauds” like Shahed and those who harboured him must be brought to justice.