Mohammad Rassel, CEO and managing director of controversial e-commerce platform Evaly, did not admit guilt during a three-day remand in a fraud case filed over embezzlement of customers' money.
On Monday – the last day of the three-day grilling, the Evaly CEO boastfully told the police that he would survive the legal battle and no crime could be proved against him, police officials who are supervising the investigation told The Business Standard.
They quoted Rassel as saying, "I haven't done anything wrong. Yes, the wrong I did was that I offered high discounts on products. But, it is not that no one has received their products. In fact, many people have received their products.
"Now everyone is asking what I have done with so much money. Apart from selling products at discounted prices, money has been spent on advertising as well. Still, I would request law enforcers – if you can, find out if I have smuggled money abroad."
Rassel also told the investigators that Evaly's liabilities to customers was Tk700 crore and that to merchants was Tk250 crore.
The investigating officials, however, said Rassel was not responding much to questions relating to misappropriation or laundering of money received in advances from customers. The police are also seeking information about the assets of Rassel, his wife Shamima Nasrin and other family members at home and abroad.
On completion of the three-day remand, Gulshan police is going to produce Mohammad Rassel and his wife in the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
Md Asaduzzaman, deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), sat at a special meeting with the Gulshan Division of the DMP on Monday afternoon to decide whether Rassel needs to be questioned further.
Asked whether they would make a prayer for another remand of Rassel on Tuesday, Asaduzzaman told TBS on Monday night that they would pray for a fresh remand but he refused to mention the period of the remand they were going to appeal for.
During the interrogation, Rassel also claimed his wife and Evaly Chairman Shamima Nasrin to be innocent.
He told the investigating officer of the case that thousands of customers are now staging demonstrations demanding his release and that he will be freed from the detention for "all these ordinary customers".
Aminul Islam, inspector (investigation) at Gulshan police station, told TBS that during interrogation of Rassel, they emphasised the issue of the embezzlement of money. They also tried to know whether the money has been transferred anywhere in the country or abroad.
"Even though money laundering is not related to the case filed with Gulshan police station, we enquired him on this issue. We will exchange information with the CID if we find any signs or evidence of money laundering, as the CID is already looking into the matter," Aminul Islam said.
"Apart from this, we have received a list of customers who have made advance payments and merchants who have sold products. However, we do not want to reveal the number at the moment. We have collected all the information from Evaly's server. We will also inform the court about these issues," he added.
Meanwhile, Wahidul Islam, a sub-inspector at Gulshan police station and the investigating officer of the case, fallen into a trouble of a different sort.
"Customers from all over the country are calling on my phone and giving their invoice numbers so that I can ask the Evaly CEO to deliver their products quickly."
"I don't know how many people have got my phone number. Many police colleagues are also calling me to find out ways to get their products quickly," said Wahidul Islam.
Mohammad Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin were shown arrested by Dhanmondi thana police on Friday night in a case of embezzlement filed by a merchant.
Speaking to the media on Monday, Ihsanul Ferdous, additional deputy commissioner of police in Dhanmondi zone of the DMP, said the Dhanmondi police would apply to the court seeking a remand of the duo, if the Gulshan police do not make pray for a fresh remand of them.
"These are the two main accused in the case. Apart from them, many officials of Evaly have been accused. We will decide on whether the rest of the accused will be grilled only after grilling Rassel and his wife bringing them into our custody," he said.