Regent Hospital owner Mohammad Shahed was at large till last light, four days after a mobile court sealed off the hospital in the capital's Uttara on charges of issuing several thousand fake Covid-19 test reports.
Multiple Rab teams are working to arrest him, Lt Col Ashique Billah, director of the force's legal and media wing, told The Daily Star. "We hope we will be able to catch him soon."
Asked whether Shahed was under their watch, the Rab official said they were yet to trace him.
Replying to a query, a top Rab official said Shahed could not flee the country. Immigration police have been asked to remain alert, he said.
Briefing reporters at his residence yesterday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Shahed would not be forgiven for the crime he allegedly committed. He said it did not matter which party or group Shahed belonged to.
"Of course he will be brought to book," the home minister said adding that both police and Rab were looking for him.
He said they would soon be able to give information about Shahed.
Asaduzzaman also said Shahed had called him over phone while Rab was raiding the private hospital on Monday.
"I referred some patients to the hospital. He called me over that matter. He said the hospital was being sealed off.
"I told him 'you must have done something wrong'. They don't seal off anything without a reason. He then asked me what he should do.
"I told him either you face it or go to court if you have something to say. That's all I said."
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday placed Regent Group Public Relations Officer Tariqul Islam alias Tareq Shibli on a five-day remand in connection with a case filed over the matter.
Metropolitan Magistrate Morshed Al Mamun Bhuiyan passed the order after Uttara West Police Station Inspector Md Alamgir Gazi, also the investigation officer of the case, produced him before the court with a seven-day remand prayer.
No lawyer appeared to defend Shahed. Responding to a question, Shibli told the court that the accused works at the PR department, but he was aware about the hospital issuing fake Covid-19 certificates, court sources said.
With Tariqul, Rab so far has arrested nine people in this connection.
Seven of the eight others, all staffers of the hospitals, were arrested during the drive. They also have been placed on a five-day remand each. The other arrestee is underage.
Shahed, who is the chairman of Regent Hospital, managing director and six other accused in the case were on the run.
In another development, Shahed's father Sirajul Karim died of coronavirus infection at the capital's Universal Medical College Hospital on Thursday night.
The hospital authorities said they informed it Shahed's wife over phone, but no relatives showed up to take the body. Later, two persons nominated by the family took it.
Rab on Tuesday night filed the case against Shahed and 16 staffers of Regent Group and Regent Hospital after the mobile court found proof that the hospital authorities issued fake Covid-19 certificates and charged patients for tests and treatment, violating an agreement with the government.
The mobile court sealed off Regent Group head office and two branches of Regent Hospital in Uttara and Mirpur.
The hospital's licence expired in 2014 and was never renewed.
According to Rab, the hospital authorities so far issued more than 10,000 Covid-19 test reports. Around 4,200 of the samples were tested at different government labs. They threw away rest, prepared fake reports and gave those to patients without testing, Rab said.
The hospital authorities took Tk 3,500 for each test, meaning they embezzled more than Tk 3.5 crore, despite having agreement with the government to conduct tests and provide Covid-19 treatment for free, said Executive Magistrate Sarwoer Alam, who led the drive.
After the Rab's raid, many other information started surfacing.
About Shahed, a home ministry letter sent to the inspector general of police back in 2016 mentioned: "He is a man of dangerous fraudulent nature."
At a briefing on Wednesday, Rab's Intelligence Chief Lt Col Sarwar-Bin-Quasem also said Shahed was a fraud and master of bluffs.
He is facing around 32 cases, including for murder, money laundering and embezzlement of public money. He has already served in jail for embezzling money. Most of the cases were filed under Section 420 of the Penal Code.