Police have arrested Shahriar Khan, chief executive officer of e-commerce site nirapod.com, for allegedly embezzling customers' money.
DB cyber and special crime unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) arrested Shahriar on Sunday from the capital's Shantinagar area, according to officials.
The arrest came following a case against him, filed by Ishtiaq Ahmed, a victim of his alleged scam, with Adabar Police Station under the Digital Security Act (DSA), DB Additional Commissioner of Police AKM Hafiz Akter told reporters on Tuesday.
Five computers, two laptops, two hard disks, 13 cheque books of different banks, 13 debit and credit cards, 23 SIM cards, and other documents used in the alleged scam were also seized from his custody during the operation, officials said.
According to Hafiz Akter, Shahriar opened nirapod.com in August 2020. He lured customers through various lucrative advertisements into making advance payments using the SSLCOMMERZ payment gateway.
Nirapod.com enticed customers with promises of giving home delivery of mobile phone sets, computers, laptops, refrigerators, ovens and other electronics items within 30 days at a 50% discount.
Nirapod had around 4,000 clients and used to get about 12,000 orders in one month, which would add about Tk7-8 crore to Shahriar's bank account, said Hafiz Akter, adding that most of those who ordered products are students and low-paid employees.
Initially, he said, Nirapod delivered some products and asked customers to post positive reviews on its page to build trust among general customers. But as the number of orders and advance payments increased, they stopped delivering products. After a while, customers started to realise they were cheated and demanded redressal through various social and news media. At one point, the fraudster disappeared, cutting off all communications with customers.
Shahriar's arrest comes at a time when Evaly, one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the country, is under heavy fire for allegedly embezzling customers' money using similar tactics.
The Anti-Corruption Commssion (ACC) last week imposed a travel ban on the e-commerce platform's Chairman Shamima Nasrin and Managing Director Mohammad Rassel, barring them from leaving the country as the commission started an inquiry into allegation of embezzling Tk338 crore.
In an inspection report submitted to the Commerce Ministry last month, the central bank said that Evaly's total liabilities were Tk407.18 crore.
After receiving Tk213.94 crore in advance from customers and Tk189.85 crore from merchants, the company was expected to have at least Tk403.80 crore in current assets, but it had only Tk65.17 crore, the report said.
Earlier, Bangladesh Bank had expressed concern over Evaly's liability to customers and merchants being extremely high.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 website-based and about 1 lakh Facebook-based active e-commerce sites in Bangladesh.