A Dhaka court on Sunday framed charges against six people including the former director-general of the Directorate General of Health Service (DGHS) Abul Kalam Azad in a case filed over the Regent Hospital scam.
The other accused are its former director (hospitals and clinics) Dr Aminul Hasan, deputy director (hospital-1) Dr Md Younus Ali, assistant director (hospital-1) Dr Md Shafiur Rahman, research officer Dr Md Didarul Islam and Regent Group Chairman Shahed Karim. Dr Azad and four others are currently on bail while Shahed is behind bars.
Dhaka Special Judge's Court Judge Al Asad Md Asifuzzaman read out charges and fixed 4 July for the commencement of taking testimony, ACC Public Prosecutor Mahmud Hossain Jahangir told the media.
Earlier on the day, Judge Asifuzzaman dismissed the petitions submitted to discharge them from the charges of the case, he added.
In September last year, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) approved a charge sheet against six people including Abul Kalam Azad in the Regent Hospital scam, although he was not accused in the case initially.
Allegations of embezzling government funds in coronavirus sample collection and treatment without having any licence were brought against them. ACC Deputy Director Md Farid Ahmed Patwary filed the case on 22 September 2020.
According to the case statement, the accused converted Regent Hospital, which had shut down, into a dedicated Covid-19 Hospital without renewing its licence and abused its power as they wanted to benefit by illegal means.
They embezzled over Tk1.37 crore through testing samples of Covid-19 patients in a government-run lab Nipsom, the statement said.
A RAB team arrested Regent Group Chairman Shahed alias Shahed Karim from Satkhira on 15 July 2020.
On 7 July of the same year, RAB sealed off Regent Hospital's head office and two of the hospital's branches in the capital, on charges of issuing fake Covid-19 certificates and conducting other misdeeds.
According to a RAB intelligence report, Regent Hospital collected samples from at least 10,000 people. Of them, only 4,200 got authentic Covid-19 test certificates and the rest were fakes.
Following the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, the DGHS signed an agreement with Regent Hospital for the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
After facing a torrent of criticism from all corners, Professor Dr Abul Kalam Azad resigned as the director-general of the health directorate in mid-2020.