Probe report against Aparajita owner Sharmin March 9
Published: 12:03 25 January 2021
A Dhaka court on Monday fixed March 9 for submitting a probe report against Sharmin Jahan, the owner of Aparajita International, in a case for supplying fake ‘N-95’ masks to the coronavirus unit of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).
Additional Metropolitan Magistrate of Dhaka set the new date. Though the investigation report of the case was scheduled to be submitted today, the investigation agency of the case, DB police, failed to submit it.
On July 24, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) filed the case against Aparajita International's owner Sharmin Jahan with the Shahbagh police station in Dhaka accusing the company of supplying fake masks to the hospital.
Following the day, Sharmin was arrested from a house in the capital’s Shahbagh area. Later on July 25, the court placed her on a three-day remand. She was sent to the custody on July 28 after the remand.
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.
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. Following the complaints, Aparajita International took back the faulty batches of the mask and its contract was terminated.
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. Sharmin, however, denied supplying substandard masks and said she is being victimised.
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