The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Tuesday arrested Md Abdur Razzak, chairman of JMI Hospital Requisite Manufacturing Ltd, over the allegations of supplying fake N95 masks.
Abdur Razzak was arrested from the capital's Shegunbagicha area, confirmed ACC Director (Public Relations) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.
Md Nurul Huda, deputy director of ACC, on Tuesday filed a case with the ACC integrated district office of Dhaka-1 accusing seven people in the incident.
The accused are: Dr Md Zakir Hossain Khan, deputy director of Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD), Dr Md Shahjahan Sarkar, and assistant director (storage and distribution) of CMSD, Dr Md Ziaul Hauqe, chief co-ordinator and desk-11 officer of CMSD, Dr Sabbir Ahmed, Desk-8 officer of CMSD, Md Kabir Ahmed, CMSD store officer, Md Yusuf Fakir, senior store keeper and Md Abdur Razzak, chairman of JMI Hospital Requisite Manufacturing Ltd.
"The rest of the accused will be arrested if needed," said ACC secretary Muhammad Dilwar Bakht at a press briefing today.
"The ACC will investigate the source of the wealth/assets of all the accused," he added.
During the first week of April this year, a social media storm erupted with allegations of supply of substandard masks to several state-run hospitals instead of N95 masks.
Later, it was found that the JMI Hospital delivered research stage N95 labelled masks instead of a general mask demanded by CMSD. These masks were made from unauthorised imported material.
Senior health ministry officials came under criticism as they were trying to term the whole controversy as a "mistake," without doing any investigation.
On April 20, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a video conference expressed annoyance over the controversy and ordered a probe into the matter. The Health Services Division formed a probe committee headed by M Saidur Rahman, additional secretary (development) to the Health Services Division, that very day to investigate the allegations.
The probe committee, formed to investigate the allegations of substandard mask supply, submitted its report to the Health Services Division on April 29 suggesting taking action against the officials who received the products labelled as N95 masks without informing the CMSD director.
The CMSD, the government body that sources medical supplies, stated that it requested JMI to supply 50,000 face masks. But it supplied 20,610 general masks packed as N95 in two batches.
While receiving the second batch of supplies, the CMSD store officials reported to their director that they doubted the quality of the masks. Then the CMSD director served a show-cause notice on JMI. And the supplier took the masks back.
On June 18, the ACC formed a four-member team to probe allegations of corruption in the purchases of N95 masks and PPE. The anti-graft commission on July 1 summoned five medical equipment suppliers for interrogation as part of its enquiry into the corruption allegations over the purchases of N95 masks and PPE.
Later on July 8, the ACC quizzed Md Abdur Razzak over allegations of corruption in purchasing masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other materials.