A ring was operating within and outside of the capital’s Mugda General Hospital to collect COVID-19 certificates and later forged those for selling to people.
The Rapid Action Battalion has recently busted a ring, recovered nearly one hundred fake certificates and held four members of the ring in this connection.
Police have been investigating the case and found that the ring was using long queues of COVID-19 test seekers as an opportunity to lure some of them to buy counterfeit COVID-19 certificates.
RAB personnel detained the four people on June 15 from a photocopying shop in Mugda on charge of printing fake COVID-19 negative and positive certificates.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Sabujbagh Zone’s assistant commissioner Rashed Hasan said that one of the arrested, Sharif Hossain, was an Ansar member working in the hospital and the rest three were owners and employees of computer and photocopying shops.
The officer said that the ring had managed to obtain some original COVID-19 certificates with negative and positive results and by way of scanning they manipulated the certificates with fake names and other necessary details.
Police officials said that some government employees were collecting fake positive certificates to enjoy facilities and incentives offered for coronavirus-infected officials or to ensure leave from the office.
Other patients, who tested positive but showed no symptoms, were collecting negative certificates to join their offices and undertake travelling.
Fake certificates were sold at around Tk four to seven thousand apiece, said police officials .
Police officials, however, could not say how many people so far collected fake certificates and none of them could be traced yet.
During the drive, RAB officials seized 95 fake certificates, computers, scanners and printers used to produce fake certificates.
Public health experts said that there were issues of financial gains and many hospitals demanded non-COVID-19 certificates for other health services too.
That is why many people were getting interested in obtaining fake COVID-19 certificates, they said.
Mugda police sub-inspector Foysal Munshi, who has been investigating the case, said that the arrested were sent to jail on Saturday after they were put on three-day remand each.
During the interrogation, they admitted that they collected certificates from Mugda Hospital laboratory and then forged those.
But, they added, as the certificates do not have national identification numbers or cellphone numbers it is hard to trace out the persons who have collected the certificates.
Police said that readymade garment workers were mainly asking for COVID-19 negative certificates to join their duties while some government officials were seeking positive certificates since there might be compensation for the positive patients.
Japan has very recently restricted charter flights operated by Biman Bangladesh Airlines, with a ban on regular flights, after some passengers on them were found COVID-19 positive upon landing.
They were allegedly having fake COVID-19 negative certificates, said government officials.
Public health expert Lelin Choudhury said that many wanted to financially profit from COVID-19 infection and some offices also ask for certificate in this regard.
Besides, he added, there have been long queues and mismanaged testing in the country leading to forging of COVID-19 certificates.
Despite making calls and sending texts, Mugda Hospital authorities could not be reached for comments.
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