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Anti-government drama producer arrested on numerous charges


Anti-government drama producer arrested on numerous charges

Special Correspondent

Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on July 8th evening have arrested a producer of television contents from his Dhaka office. According to media reports, Mohammed Ali Bashir, owner of a television-drama production company was picked up on charges of abetting heinous crimes committed by a private hospital named Regent, which had issued false coronavirus certificates to over six hundred individuals, while its owner Mohammed Shahed was also allegedly involved into various forms of crimes.

Mohammed Ali Bashir founded a television drama production company named Tele Home back in 1995 with the direct patronization of Gias Uddin Mamun, a cohort of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)’s mini-boss Tarique Rahman. Basir is also an intimate friend of Major (Retired) Shams, former Security Chief of BNP as well as the owner of another production company named Tele Media. Bashir reportedly has owned a number of properties within the downtown area of Dhaka with the help of one of his childhood friends named Bhutto, a notorious criminal from city’s Kathal Bagan area.

According to various sources, Ali Bashir owns a leisure villa at Bhadun village in Pubail, which has been mostly used as the pleasure center of a number of important individuals, including few high-ranking officials. At least five television drama actresses were regularly visiting the mentioned leisure vila in exchange for a handsome amount of cash for giving “company” to those guests of Ali Bashir. It is further learned that; Ali Bashir’s brother-in-law Mohammed Shahed had transferred a significant amount of cash to Tele Home for investing in drama production. Shahed had invested this amount for getting connected to several television actresses and models, who were later supplied to his important “targets”.

BNP supporter’s campaign in favor of Shahed

On the social media, several activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its front organizations are seen openly propagating in favor of Mohammed Shahed, while in some of those social media posts, Shahed was praised as the “best human being”.

Anti-state activities at Tele Home

Ever since the establishment of Tele Home, this production company was serving as the media front of Hawa Bhaban, while since 2009, this had been regularly used by BNP’s mini-boss Tarique Rahman for making of anti-government propaganda materials, including documentaries.

The Regent Hospital scam

The list of wrongdoings of Md Shahed, brother-in-law of Mohammed Ali Bashir, against whom there is an ongoing manhunt by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), is too long.

During the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh, Regent Hospital owner Shahed had claimed that his hospital was dedicated to providing services to people suffering from the deadly virus out of his moral and humanitarian obligations. However, following recent developments, it has come to light that not only did this guy force his employees to print out hundreds of fake coronavirus results but he also billed the government huge sums for the treatment and care of coronavirus patients, while in reality, no such service was provided.

But the question still remains as to how did the government, more specifically the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), sign a contract with a hospital that did not get its license renewed for the past six years to operate as a coronavirus dedicated hospital.

However, recently, the authorities concerned were forced to shut down and seal all activities of Regent Hospital over the allegations related to issuing fake coronavirus certificates and other forms of misconducts, after RAB conducted raids at both the branches of the hospital – in Uttara and Mirpur and gathered substantial evidence proving the wrong-doings.

Shahed is not new to the world of corruption, money embezzlement, and irregularities as he once had to serve two years in prison for fraudulent activities.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Lt Col Sarwar Bin Kashem, RAB’s intelligence wing director, said that in the case filed with Uttara West police station regarding the issue, a total of 17 people, including Md Shahed, have been accused.

“We have already arrested eight of the suspects. Our efforts are underway to get the rest as soon as possible,” he be charged under the Money Laundering Act.”

Illegal activities of Shahed-Bashir duo

Shahed Karim aka Shahed hails from Satkhira district. He moved to Dhaka in search of fortune in 2010 when he was a ninth-grader. In 2010 he opened two fraudulent Multi Level Marketing (MLM) companies named BDS Kick One and Kormomukhi Kormo Songsthan Society (KKS) in the capital’s Dhanmondi area and continued to cheat various individuals. According to sources, Shahed had embezzled over one billion takas from these two fraudulent ventures and a significant portion of this cheat-fund was passed on to Ali Bashir for investing into drama production business. Subsequently, when the victims lodged cases against Shahed, two of these fraudulent MLM companies were closed down.

There are as many as 32 cases lodged against Shahed with police stations all across the country, added the law enforcement sources. He was arrested once in 2011 for fraudulent activities but managed to get bail using his money and political ties.

After his release from jail, he started business under the banner of Regent Group with the money he had earlier embezzled.

As a new strategy, Shahed started to introduce himself to various government offices, especially to the Ministry of Health, as a retired military officer, or as someone who is associated with the Prime Minister’s Office.

He also claimed to be a member of the ruling party’s sub-committee on international affairs.

Contacted, Dr Shammi Ahmed, international affairs secretary of Awami League, said: “Shahed was never a member of our sub-committee. His claims are completely false.”

Meanwhile, he deliberately used to take photos and share frames with top-level government officers, law enforcement officials, lawmakers, and even ministers for his own gains.

He even used to co-sponsor various events of different units of the country’s law enforcement agencies in a bid to build up close relations with them. Ali Bashir played key-role in arranging such events.

Besides, those who were to challenge Shahed’s lies received threats.

The sources also told the correspondent that Shahed has other companies named Regent Design and Development, Regent KCS Ltd, Regent IT Solution, and many more to carry out all his illegal deeds.

To establish himself as a political figure and an analyst among everyone, he also started an organization named Center for Political Research. Some reports indicate that Shahed, who was seen on multiple TV talk shows bashing the opposition in favor of the ruling party, was actually involved with BNP’s politics.

The sources also informed that he even owns a Bangla newspaper named Natun Kagoj.

Ali Bashir is the mastermind

Behind each of the criminal activities of Shahed, his brother-in-law Ali Bashis was playing the role of the mastermind. It was Ali Bashir who had even introduced a number of television actresses with Shahed, while the later promised them of getting “important posts” in the ruling party or its front organizations. Many of those controversial actresses were regularly seen in the office of Tele Home spending private moments with Shahed as well as few of his “important guests”.

A highly-placed source in the Bangladesh Police told this correspondent, Ali Bashir will be taken for interrogation, while the named of those drama actresses connected to this man will be investigated.

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