Regent Group Chairman Mohammad Shahed admitted that he made a fake certificate to show him Covid-19 positive, investigators said yesterday.
He prepared the certificate through one of his trusted aides. He asked his aide to collect samples from a Covid-19 positive patient first and then prepare a certificate for him using the sample, they added.
Shahed disclosed this during interrogation, said DB officials.
During a remand hearing in a Dhaka court on Thursday, Shahed alias Shahed Karim claimed that he was Covid-19 positive.
Detectives, however, said he staged the drama of being infected with coronavirus so that he could gain sympathy and police did not get close to him for interrogation.
"Shahed did not have any Covid-19 symptoms," Kazi Shafiqul Alam, deputy commissioner of Detective Branch (DB) Uttara division, told The Daily Star yesterday when he was asked about the matter.
Yesterday was the first day of 10-day remand for Shahed. He tried to sneeze after putting tissue papers inside his nose, according to investigation sources.
He revealed his whereabouts and the journey from Dhaka to Satkhira, said investigators.
Shahed told detectives that he first tried to communicate with some influential people he knew after Rab raided Regent Hospital on July 6.
But when he found the situation went beyond his control, he attempted to leave the country through Akhaura border first but failed, said a DB high official, requesting anonymity.
Shahed returned to Dhaka and stayed for a day. He then went to Cox's Bazar and took shelter in a friend's house.
Investigators said Shahed went to his friend's house in Cox's Bazar from Dhaka in a luxury car which had a fake registration plate so that law enforcers could not get details of its owner.
Investigators are now conducting drives to recover the car.
Then Shahed went to Jashore to cross the border, but he failed again. He finally decided to cross the border from his home town in Satkhira, said an official, quoting him as saying.
A Rab team arrested Shahed in Satkhira's Debhata upazila on Wednesday while he was trying to cross a river to flee to India on a boat.
DC Shafiqul said Shahed is giving different types of information during interrogation, but they are trying to get details of his associates, who are involved in his fraudulent business.
"We got some clues and we are now analysing these so that we can take action against the offenders," he added.
On July 7, a mobile court of Rab sealed off Regent Hospital, owned by Shahed, in the capital's Uttara on charges of issuing several thousand fake Covid-19 test certificates and swindling a huge amount of money.
A day later, Inspector Zulhas Mia of Rab-1 filed a case with Uttara Paschim Police Station against Shahed and 16 others.
Lt Col Ashique Billah, director of Rab's legal and media wing, said, "We have already written to the Police Headquarters requesting it to hand us over the charge of investigation in Shahed's case. But it may take some time as it also requires the home ministry's permission."
CHEQUE BOOK, CAR SEIZED
Meanwhile, Rab arrested two people, recovered a cheque book, signed by Shahed, and his private car from their possession in Narsinghapur of Ashulia on Thursday.
The arrestees are Gias Uddin, 61, and Mahmudul Hasan, 40. Gias is the brother-in-law of Regent Group Managing Director Masud Parvez.
The two were hiding in Ashulia area, said Lt Col Ashique.
In another development, Rab yesterday formed an investigating wing at its HQ to provide support to the victims, cheated by Shahed. The victims can give information, file complaints or seek legal support regarding the Regent issue by calling 01777720211 number of the investigating wing, said Sujoy Sarker, senior assistant director of Rab's legal and media wing.