How Shahed took over Hotel Milina

Md Shahed alias Shahed Karim
Md Shahed alias Shahed KarimFile photo

The owner of Hotel Milina, Anwar Hossain, on Monday filed a case against the chairman of Regent Group, Md Shahed alias Shahed Karim. On the previous day, Anwar Hossain submitted a complaint to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and relevant departments of the government.

He said Shahed Karim was supposed to have been running the hotel, located in Uttara Sector 6 of the capital city, on the basis of a partnership, but in November he forcefully took over the establishment.

In addition to providing treatment for coronavirus infected patients at Regent Hospital’s branches in Uttara and Mirpur, as per the MoU with the health directorate, Shahed had also said that Hotel Milina would be used for the purpose too.

Anwar Hossain said he had to wait quite some time before he was summoned into Shahed’s room. Shahed was in a relaxed, half-lying position. He then said that he was in a hurry. A certain bureaucrat of the prime minister’s office was arriving from abroad and he had to meet him at the airport. So Anwar Hossain had to sign the deal in quite a hurry

It was on the list of hotels designated by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) for the use of physicians and health workers. However, physicians at Regent Hospital said that though food would be provided from Hotel Milina, there was no provision for them to stay there.

Speaking at his residence in Uttara, the owner of Hotel Milina, Anwar Hossain, said that Shahed has filed three cases against him over proprietorship of the hotel. Shahed had even prepared papers seeking a loan of Tk 85 million, claiming to own the hotel and using it as collateral. But then on 6 July RAB raided Regent Hospital in Uttara and later, on 15 July, arrested Shahed in Satkhira, near the border.

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Anwar Hossain told Prothom Alo that he had spent a long time in Japan and, upon his return, bought a plot of land on Road 9, Sector 6 of Uttara, where he constructed an eight-storey building. In 2011 he set up Hotel Milina and was looking for an investor for the business.

In November last year, a certain Kazi Saiful Bari, claiming to be a representative of Regent Group, approached him, saying that they had an aviation business. He said that that their pilots, cabin crew and passengers could stay in the hotel, and business would flourish.

Shahed has started siphoning off funds in small amounts since 2012. The amount grew after 2016. He tried to get citizenship of a European country in the investor quota. Mehta said Shahed had sent around USD 6 million out of the country

Anwar Hossain said he needed time to give the matter consideration, but Shahed’s people put on the pressure and asked him to visit the Regent head office on 21 November. Anwar told them that every month they would have to pay him Tk 800,000 in rent for the hotel, and 60 per cent of the profit. The Regent side negotiated a Tk 750,000 monthly rent and 55 per cent of the profit. They told Anwar Hossain to agree to that amount before he entered Shahed’s room.

Anwar Hossain said he had to wait quite some time before he was summoned into Shahed’s room. Shahed was in a relaxed, half-lying position and asked his people to read out what was in the contract. He then said that he was in a hurry. A certain bureaucrat of the prime minister’s office was arriving from abroad and he had to meet him at the airport. So Anwar Hossain signed the deal in quite a hurry that day.

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On that very night, from a talk show at Mohona TV, Shahed and his people turned up at Hotel Milina and asked for the papers to be handed over. He took over the hotel the very next day.

Within a few days Anwar Hossain realised he was in trouble. No airline pilots or cabin crew came to stay at the hotel. He wanted to meet Shahed. Then on 17 December he came to know that three cases had been filed against him in court. Shahed’s people send him the summons over cell phone. They told him to remain silent if he wanted to live.

Anwar Hossain told Prothom Alo that the charges filed against him were similar to the ones now filed against Shahed himself. He looked into how the summons were issued so soon after the case was filed and found out that a senior official in the law ministry was also involved. He later got bail from the High Court, but was unable to enter his hotel.

So far he should have received Tk 6 million in rent from the hotel, but no payment has been made at all. Electricity, water and gas bills have mounted to Tk 900,000. After the raid on Regent Hospital, Anwar Hossain went to the hotel and found many things missing. He claims that Shahed has removed items worth at least Tk 4.2 million.

Money laundering

A certain A Mehta of a UK-based company Trans Globalnexus, informed RAB that Shahed has siphoned off money overseas. Prothom Alo contacted the company by e-mail. In a reply mail on Monday, A Mehta said that Shahed had told them that he didn’t want to keep money in the country. He first purchased property in India in his relative’s name and even tried to get an ID card there.

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Mehta went on to tell Prothom Alo that Shahed had told him that he earned money through mediation. He believed Shahed as there was precedence in Bangladesh of people amassing wealth by arranging contact with influential persons.

He said that Shahed has started siphoning off funds in small amounts since 2012. The amount grew after 2016. He tried to get citizenship of a European country in the investor quota. Mehta said Shahed had sent around USD 6 million out of the country.

NID suspended

The election commission has suspended Md Shahed alias Shahed Karim’s national ID card. Concerned officials said they are looking into whether he had provided any fake information when making changes in his ID card.

RAB’s legal and media wing director, Ashik Billah, told Prothom Alo that there are 10 more complaints with them against Shahed. They are not taking all of the complaints being made over phone. They are only taking complaints which have primary evidence.