For any business deal, Regent Group Chairman Md Shahed alias Shahed Karim used to issue bank cheques with encashment dates that could be two months later.
But in most of the cases, the bank accounts would either be empty or closed.
When the victims tried to contact Shahed over the bounced cheques, he used to threaten them with severe consequences by using names of influential people.
For complaints of fraudulence, Shahed was arrested in June 2016 by a police team of the capital's Kotwali Police Station. He, however, managed to secure bail from a court within a week, said an officer of the police team wishing not to be named.
The official, currently the officer-in-charge of a police station in Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), said Shahed opened a clothing shop in Islampur area of Old Dhaka in 2016. He ran the business for only three months.
During this period, he used to buy clothes from traders and make payments to them with cheques. But the traders never got any money, said the cop.
"A trader then filed a fraud case against Shahed for not paying him Tk 64 lakh and we arrested Shahed. But within a couple of hours of his arrest, we received dozens of phone calls from top officials and ruling party leaders requesting his release."
The police officer said the case was later transferred to the DMP's Detective Branch and Shahed secured bail.
Investigators said Shahed used to save the phone numbers of his associates with names of different government high officials and top law enforcement officials, including the inspector general of police.
When anyone met Shahed for payment, he used to give signal to his associates to call him. Shahed would then put his phone before that person to make the latter feel that he knew an influential individual very well, sources said.
On Wednesday, a team of Rapid Action Battalion arrested Shahed from near the Labangabati river in Satkhira's Debhata upazila. The Rab said he was attempting to cross the river on a boat to flee to India.
Later in the day, he was flown to Dhaka by a helicopter.
His arrest came a day after the Rab picked up Regent's Managing Director Masud Parvez from Gazipur.
REMANDED FOR 10 DAYS
Yesterday, a Dhaka court placed Shahed and Masud on 10-day remand each after the DB produced the duo before it, seeking 10-day remand for each in a case filed over issuing fake Covid-19 test certificates and charging patients for tests and treatment in violation of an agreement with the government.
Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Jasim granted the remand prayers, said court sources.
In the remand prayer, DB Inspector SM Gaffarul Alam, also the investigation officer of the case, said as per the directives of Shahed and Masud, the other accused prepared fake Covid-19 test reports and provided those to people.
Moreover, they charged patients for tests and treatment despite having an agreement with the government on carrying out tests and providing treatment for free.
So, they need to be placed on remand to glean information from them about their offences, the inspector argued.
On July 8, Inspector Zulhas Mia of Rab-1 had filed the case with Uttara Paschim Police Station against Shahed, Masud, and 15 others.
SHAHED CLAIMS TO BE COVID-19 POSITIVE
During the hearing on the bail petition in the court yesterday, Shahed claimed that he is Covid-19 positive and he has been ill for the last one and a half months, said court sources.
Claiming himself to be innocent, he further told the court that his hospital was the first private one which started novel coronavirus testing.
Shahed said he applied several times for renewing the licence of his hospitals, but the government did not take any measure in this regard. He broke down in tears while making the claims before the court.
ADMIT PROVIDING FAKE REPORTS
Abdul Baten, additional commissioner (DB) of DMP, yesterday said Shahed during primary interrogation admitted to providing fake novel coronavirus test reports to people.
He also admitted that most of the Covid-19 test reports by Regent Hospital were fake, the DB official added.
Some machines were kept at Regent Hospital for Covid-19 testing, but those were there only for display, Baten said, adding that the machines were never used for tests.
Shahed, however, removed the machines from there before the Rab conducted the drive at the hospital, he said.
"We are now trying to recover those machines. If necessary, we will conduct a drive there taking Shahed along with us."
The DB official further said the they would register a complaint if any victim, cheated by Shahed, wanted to come forward. "We will also provide legal assistance to the victims."
TWO MORE CASES FILED
Two more cases were filed against Shahed, already accused in 56 cases, including for fraud, murder, and repression of women.
Of the two cases, the Rab filed one with Uttara Paschim Police Station early yesterday over recovering fake notes from Shahed's office, said Sujoy Sarker, senior assistant director of the Rab's legal and media wing.
Nazrul Islam, Rab-6 deputy assistant director, filed the other case with Debhata Police Station in Satkhira against Shahed and two others under arms and special powers acts around 11:15pm on Wednesday, said Debhata OC Biplob Kumar Saha.
During his arrest, the Rab recovered a pistol, three bullets, a national identity card, three ATM cards and 2,330 Indian rupees from Shahed's possession, added the OC.