Detective Branch arrests Sharmin Jahan hours after BSMMU sued her company
The owner of Aparajita International, Sharmin Jahan has been arrested over the case filed by the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) accusing the company of supplying fake masks to the hospital.
Sharmin was held around 10.15pm on Friday from the capital’s Shahbagh area, Detective Branch Deputy Commissioner HM Azimul Haque told Dhaka Tribune.
An assistant registrar at the Dhaka University (DU), Sharmin is a student from the academic session 1998-99 from the university's Islamic Studies Department. She joined the university as a section officer and was later promoted to assistant registrar.
She also served as the president of the Bangladesh Chhatra League unit at DU's Bangladesh-Kuwait Maitree Hall and as a member of the Awami League’s central sub-committee on women and children affairs for a term.
Sharmin's arrest came hours after the BSMMU authorities started a case against her with the Shahbagh police station in Dhaka.
Soon after the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded in March, the BSMMU started collecting samples to conduct tests from novel coronavirus suspects.
In May, the state-run facility decided to start treating Covid-19 patients, when it went for immediate procurement of safety gears for healthcare workers.
Aparajita International won a contract to supply 11,000 N95 masks.
On June 30, it supplied the first batch of 1,300 masks and the second lot of 460 was delivered the same day to the BSMMU.
The third lot of 1,000 masks were supplied on July 2 and another 700 masks in the fourth lot on July 13.
The masks supplied in the first and second batches did not have any issues, but the third and fourth lots were found to be faulty, according to the case documents.
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The braces of some face masks were found to be torn, and the printed text of some face masks had faulty English text, it added.
The doctors found that masks did not meet the N95 specifications and complained to the authorities, BSMMU Vice-Chancellor Kanak Kanti Barua told Dhaka Tribune on Friday.
Following the complaints, Aparajita International took back the faulty batches of the mask and its contract was terminated, said Barua.
On July 18, BSMMU authorities served the supplier with a notice seeking explanation over the faulty masks. Aparajita International’s owner Sharmin apologized in a written response.
Following an internal inquiry, the BSMMU decided to sue Sharmin, said VC Barua.
Soon after the case was filed on Friday, Sharmin dismissed the allegations as “conspiracies” against her.
“We did not supply fake masks. These products have been imported from China. We did not manufacture them. We are just supplying,” she told Dhaka Tribune.
The BSMMU could have informed them if the products were faulty, Sharmin said before adding: “We could have checked them.”