The anti-crime elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested controversial Regent Group chairman, Md Shahed alias Shahed Karim in Satkhira near the country’s border with India, early Wednesday.
Additional Superintendent of Police, Sujoy Sarkar, who is also the Deputy Director of the RAB’s Legal and Media Wing confirmed the matter. He said RAB personnel arrested Shahed at around 5:00am in a case filed over his alleged involvement in a recent Covid-19 testing scam and other irregularities.
Lieutenant Colonel Ashik Billah, Director of the Legal and Media Wing of the crime buster said, “ Shahed was arrested with a firearm near Debhata border of Satkhira district.”
A foreign pistol, three rounds of ammo and a magazine were also recovered from his possession.
RAB officials said the fraud was trying to cross the border through Komorpur village of Debhata.
He was later brought to the capital Dhaka by a helicopter. RAB took Shahed to its headquarters for primary interrogation after the helicopter had landed at Dhaka’s old airport in Tejgaon around 8:30am.
Shahed was hiding in a sewage drain at Debhata upazila in Satkhira. He was wearing a Burqa when a team of RAB arrested him.
According to eyewitness Nurul Islam, also a resident of Komarpur village in the upazila, there is a small sewage drain next to the Komarpur Bridge. The criminal was hiding in that sewerage drain wearing a black burqa. Local fishermen at first suspected him to be mad. Later, RAB personnel in three vehicles arrived at the spot and arrested him.
Local people became angry on getting the real identity of Shahed. At one stage, they tried to assault him. However, the attempt failed due to RAB.
RAB Additional Director General (Operations) Colonel Tofail Mostafa Sarwar said, “ Shahed had shaved off his moustache and beard. His hair was basically white. But he coloured it black to avoid arrest . He also planned to have his hair cut. If he had escaped, he might have also shaved off his hair.”
"Shahed provided us some special information. He was taken to RAB headquarters for further interrogation," he further said.
Describing the arrest of Shahed, the RAB second in command said,“ We were following his activities immediately after raiding Regent hospitals last week. He was changing his location again and again. He contacted the brokers to flee to India through the border river Ichamati.”
Shahed also rented a boat to cross the Indian border. The boatman fled the scene when we arrested him, Col Tofail narrated.
He said, “ We will also arrest those brokers who tried to help him escape .”
About the primary interrogation of Shahed , Lt Col Ashik Billah said, “ Shahed’s attitude during the interrogation was very arrogant.”
He threatened that he will deal with the matter legally, and come out of jail very soon.
Lt Col Ashik Billah said, “ Since Shahed had already served three months jail in a fraud case earlier, he knows how to dodge the laws.”
“In primary interrogation we found that Shahed had crossed the border illegally through brokers and visited India several times.”
After we brought him to the capital, we received information that he has a private office in the city’s Uttara. We conducted an operation at that office also.
He said that since this was a private office, very few people had access there. He did not allow anyone to enter the office except for a handful of people, including his most trusted Masud Parvez.
The RAB director said Shahed is extremely cunning and an idol in the world of deception. He can easily influence people with his deceiving words. He has done the same thing everywhere he went.
RAB Director General (DG) Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun said at a press conference, “ We raided Shahed's office in the city’s Uttara and recovered counterfeit notes worth Tk 1.48 lakh.”
The RAB boos said Shahed used to pay these fake currencies to those he owed money.
Shahed was also cheating sand traders, stone traders and rickshaw pullers with fake licenses.
The RAB chief said Shahed would be handed over to the DMP's detective police.
ASP Sujoy Sarkar told this correspondent yesterday that a RAB team had already left for the DB office to hand over Shahed.
After the arrest , Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, Shahed has tarnished the image of the country by giving fake Covid-19 test reports.
He made the remark at his Dhanmondi residence on Wednesday.
The home boos warned that none, irrespective of political affiliations, will be spared for such fraud.
He asked law enforcement to be vigilant regarding the issue.
The deceivers will continue deceiving always, he added
On July 6, RAB raided the Uttara and Mirpur branches of Regent hospital on allegations of issuing fake Covid-19 certificates, as well as charging exorbitant fees for Covid-19 testing and treatment of patients.
The RAB mobile court found evidence of at least 6,000 fake Covid-19 test certificates during the raid.
A day later, RAB sealed off the head office of Regent Hospital at directives of DGHS and a case was filed against 17 people, including Regent Group Chairman Shahed, with the Uttara West police station.
On the same day, DGHS ordered the closure of both the Mirpur and Uttara branches of the Regent Hospital.