It operated like a one-stop service centre for jobseekers. All one needed to do was say what kind of employment they wanted. Even a recruitment test was unnecessary. The service provider would arrange the job and send the appointment letter to them.
This is how Mehjabin Properties Ltd simplified the process of finding “employment” and defrauded dozens of people capitalising on their need and naivety.
In the last one year, the suspicious organisation gave appointment letters to around 200 people. They bore the names of private banks, revenue board, jail directorate, and ministries including those of education or women and children affairs.
It also promised admission to medical colleges.
For the service, each candidate was charged a fee of Tk 2-5 lakh.
The Detective Branch (DB) of police claimed to have discovered the centre at the capital’s Mirpur DOHS area after arresting five people, including its managing director (MD) Md Shainur Alam, 28, on Friday.
The other arrestees are deputy managing director Md Selim Reza, 23, legal affairs adviser Shahid Al Islam, 24, and staff members Selim Hossain, 35, and Jibarul Islam, 36.
“We made the arrest after two victims filed complaints against the five for fraud,” said Md Rahat Khan, inspector of DB police.
They are receiving more complaints now and analysing them, he added.
In the first complaint, Narayan Chandra Barman from Lalmonirhat said he paid Tk 2 lakh to Shahid Al Islam on April 9 for arranging a bank job for his younger brother.
In the name of a medical test, they charged him an additional Tk 10,000. Narayan got disillusioned only when he took his brother to the bank on April 13.
“When I asked for my money back, they handed me a cheque of Tk 1 lakh, on April 18. When I went to cash it out, the bank officials said there was no money in the said account,” Narayan told this newspaper.
Narayan then filed a complaint with the DB on April 21.
Another incident involves Nurul Islam, a medical college admission seeker from Khulna. He filed the second complaint on May 9.
Nurul said he paid Tk 5 lakh to the managing director in December last year.
“A neighbour gave me the address about the service centre. After we contacted them, they gave us assurance and took the money,” he told The Daily Star.
“When I demanded a refund, they refused. Then I went to police.”
According to DB officials, Shainur started the so-called service in the name of Mehjabin Properties Ltd in Mirpur DOHS area a year back. The monthly office rent was Tk 18,000, and he used to pay Tk 1 lakh in salaries to his employees.
In his business card, Shainur also identified himself as the marketing director of Shadhin TV Ltd and Khulna division secretary of the so-called “international human rights anticorruption crime investigation society”.
During interrogation, Shainur told detectives that he failed to continue education after his higher secondary school certificate (HSC) exams. He was a rickshaw-puller a few years back, said DB Inspector Rahat, also investigating officer of the case.
Later, Shainur contacted an outsourcing company and found himself a cleaning job at a private bank. In the same way, he arranged jobs for some other people. A few days later, he opened his fraud business for easy money, according to DB officials.
DB Inspector Rahat said Shainur placed some brokers in remote areas, especially in the northern region and Khulna. The brokers used to collect details and money from unwitting people, promising them jobs in Dhaka, he said.
“For the service, the broker would get a 30 percent cut,” he said.
When the jobseekers reached Shainur’s office, he would interview them himself. If anyone failed, he would charge Tk 10,000-20,000 as penalty and asked them to come back again after a few days, the DB official said, quoting the arrestees.
When the applicant came back and passed the “exam”, Shainur asked them to go back home. Weeks later, he would prepare an appointment letter and send it by post to the candidate’s house, said Inspector Rahat.
“We recovered dozens of appointment letters from Shainur’s office. They carry signatures of secretaries and high officials. We found all of them to be fake,” Ahsan Khan, additional deputy commissioner of DB police, told The Daily Star.
A case was filed against the five with Pallabi Police Station.
During interrogation, the arrestees gave some names, and detectives are looking for them. “We will submit the charge sheet after arresting the brokers,” said Ahsan.