Imprisoned businessman hospitalised in pretence of patient

Ekramul Haque . Chattogram | Update:

Shahabuddin Alam. File photoThe imprisoned loan defaulter businessman and chairman of SA Group, Shahabuddin Alam, was taken to the emergency unit of Chittagong Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) on 13 December, supposedly for dental treatment.

However, Shahabuddin was admitted to CMCH on the day for chest pains, not dental problems.

Ironically, visiting the hospital recently, this correspondent found Shahabuddin under treatment in the physical medicine ward for back pain. He has taken two beds of the ward 2/A there and uses the physicians’ washroom.

Shahabuddin was picked up from a coffee shop in Gulshan, Dhaka, on 17 October for loan default. The criminal investigation department of police arrested him in connection with a lawsuit filed by Bank Asia at a Chattogram police station.

According to bank documents, Shahabuddin had taken huge loans from government and private commercial banks and financial institutions. These loans amount to over Tk 36 billion. From the CDA Avenue branch of Bank Asia in Chattogram alone, Shahabuddin took over Tk 7 billion.

After being arrested by CID in Dhaka, Shahabuddin was sent to Chattogram. On 24 October, the Chittagong metropolitan magistrate court sanctioned two-day remand for interrogation.

Chittagong Medical College sources said, as soon as Shahabuddin came to the emergency unit of the hospital, his dental ailment turned into a cardiovascular one as he complained of chest pain. Following this, he was admitted in No. 14 ward that day.

Shahabuddin was placed under professor Anupam Barua’s treatment. A medical board was also formed for him, but it did not find any problems with his heart.

He was supposed to be released on 29 December, but on that day he developed a back pain. So he was shifted to the physical medicine ward on 31 December and has been under Shawkat Hossain’s treatment there since then.

The hospital issued a release letter in his name on 27 December, but when he complained of the back pain, he was shifted to the physical medicine ward, said Mohsen Uddin Ahmed, director of CMCH.

Professor Shawkat Hossain admitted to Prothom Alo that Shahabuddin was using two beds and the physicians’ washroom too. He did not want to comment further on the issue.

Many patients have been turned away from this 11-bed ward as Shahabuddin has taken over two beds for himself. The two beds have been arranged in a manner as if it is his personal room. Shahabuddin uses one of the beds and his guard uses the other. Neither of them could be contacted due to strict security.

He was sent to the hospital when he felt ill and will return once released from the CMCH, said Md Kamal Hossain, the jail super of the Chattogram prison.

According to the bank records, Shahabuddin’s default loans taken from several branches in Chattogram include around Tk 9.4 billion from the Agrabad branch of Islami Bank, Tk 361.14 billion from the Agrabad branch of First Security Islami Bank, Tk 7.01 billion from the Agrabad branch of National Bank, Tk 2.97 billion from the Agrabad branch of Pubali Bank, Tk 1.8 billion from the Sholoshohor branch of Krishi Bank, Tk 5.48 billion from the corporate branch of Agrani Bank, Tk 1.18 billion from the corporate branch of Janata Bank at Sheikh Mujib Road, and Tk 552.55 million from the Agrabad branch of Prime Bank.

Shahabuddin’s SA Group has several businesses including oil refinery, food, milk products and beverages.

*This report originally published in the Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Nusrat Nowrin.

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