Much-talked about e-commerce platform Evaly's Chairman Shamima Nasrin and her husband Mohammad Rassel, who is the CEO cum Managing Director of the organisation, were arrested on Thursday afternoon from their Mohammadpur residence.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel arrested them hours after customers of Evaly filed a case against the couple and some unidentified persons for embezzling their money.
Lt Col Mohammad Khairul Islam, director of RAB'S Intelligence wing, said that the couple was arrested as they are the prime accused in the case.
He said, after the arrest, RAB members took both Rassel and Shamima out of their Mohammadpur home around 5:20pm and later they were taken to the RAB headquarters.
Earlier, Khandaker Al Moin, RAB'S Legal and Media wing director, said, they also conducted a raid at the house from where various documents related to the embezzlement of public money were seized.
Meanwhile, on information of RAB drive, many of the Evaly customers and vendors thronged the building in Mohammadpur. They also staged angry demonstrations demanding their money back and punishment to the couple for their cheating activities.
One of them, who ordered products worth Tk 16 lakh, told reporters that he started placing orders with Evaly since January this year.
"Initially, I got several products but they stopped delivering in the last three to four months. When I went to their office, or enquired about the products online, they always sought more time," he said.
"We have lost everything," he said, adding that the government should have taken steps much earlier.
Some, however, said that the authorities should give Evaly some time, so that the organisation could continue business operations and refund customers’ money or deliver products gradually.
"How can we get the money back if the top officials are behind the bar?" -- said another customer.
The man had ordered products worth Tk 11 lakh and now fears that he would not get his money back.
Another customer, Mohammad Al Amin, said, "Evaly sought six months from the government. I think the government should give them the time."
"What is the benefit of arresting them? If we [customers] can give them time, why not the authorities?"-- he said.
It should be mentioned that since its inception in 2018, Evaly has faced a debt of Tk 5.43 billion to its suppliers and customers.
Evaly’s system, which thrived on stupendous cashback offers, came under scrutiny after the Ministry of Commerce and Bangladesh Bank opened a probe into their activities and found a significant amount of embezzlement.
Evaly appeared to be lying low after the government announced new steps to regulate digital marketplaces, leaving scores of disgruntled customers in the lurch.
The Anti-corruption Commission is also investigating claims from the commerce ministry that Evaly misappropriated Tk 3.38 billion from customers and merchants, and began investigations on Jul 8.
The court, on Jul 15, ordered a travel ban on Rassel and his wife, following a plea from the anti-graft watchdog on Jul 9.