Over the past three years, controversial contractor SM Golam Kibria Shamim, arrested during the crackdown on casinos in the country, has spent over one year in hospital, in four phases. The last time was on 25 August when he was first taken to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and then to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
On Tuesday and yesterday, Thursday, he was found to be in an air-conditioned room in the cabin block on the third floor of Dhaka Medical College Hospital's old building. Upon knocking on the door, two jail guards came out and said he was resting. He was seen to be sitting on a chair.
Yet a visit around the hospital saw many patients who had suffered from a stroke, cancer patients and heart patients, not finding any vacant beds in the wards and cabins, were outside, some on the floor, some in the verandas, undergoing treatment in such deplorable circumstances.
The reasons for sending GK Shamim from jail to hospital were recorded as 'chest and abdominal pains,' 'high blood pressure,' 'diabetes', and other ailments.
GK Shamim had thus been three times to hospital, staying for 11 months 14 days in air-conditioned cabins
When asked about the matter, the central jail physician Mahmudul Hasan told Prothom Alo that GK Shamim had been suffering from neurological problems.
He was 'seriously unwell' and so had been sent to hospital. He had been sent to hospital previously due to problems with his hand, Mahmudul Hasan added.
GK Shamim is under the treatment of associate professor of Dhaka Medical College Hospital's urology department, Pradyut Kumar Saha.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said Shamim was a diabetic patient, and also suffered from neurological problems, pneumonia, eye problems and more. He is undergoing various tests.
GK Shamim was arrested on 20 September 2019 along with seven bodyguards from his office in Gulshan. He was first sent to BSMMU on 25 April 2020 from Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj. He was there till 19 November, for nearly eight months. He was sent back to jail when Prothom Alo reported on the matter.
Next in 2021, he spent another one month and five days at BSMMU again, from 15 April to 20 May. Just two days later he was brought to hospital again on 22 May. After around two months 25 days, he was sent back to jail on 16 August.
GK Shamim had thus been three times to hospital, staying for 11 months 14 days in air-conditioned cabins. And in the latest development, he has been 29 days in hospital, first taken to BSMMU on 25 August and then on to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Sources in the department of prison said that there certainly must be recommendations from a 'higher level' to send GK Shamim to hospital. There is no other reason for him to be kept at an outside hospital. Out of the 10,000 inmates at Dhaka Central Jail, why should he be given the opportunity to go to hospital so often?
When asked about the matter, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said, "I was not aware of this. I shall look into why a convict is being brought to hospital repeatedly."
Before his arrest, GK Shamim would sometimes identify himself Jubo League's cooperative affairs secretary. Sometimes he would say he was Narayanganj district Awami League vice president. He would move with seven armed bodyguards. He would get almost all the big contracts of the public works department.
When he was arrested from his office in Niketan in the capital, cash amounting to Tk 18 million, FDR documents of Tk 1.65 billion, USD 9000, 752 Singapore dollars, a firearm and liquor were recovered from the place. A case was filed against him under the firearms act, narcotics act and money laundering prevention act.
The verdict for the firearms case at Gulshan police station against GK Shamim and his seven bodyguards is scheduled to be declared on 25 September.