Police are going to get neutral expert opinions to find out whether the N95 masks supplied by Aparajita Trade International to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) were of low quality.
"We are trying to find out the truth about the supply of fake masks as alleged by the BSMMU," said Mishu Bishas, additional deputy commissioner of the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan police.
He also said that a Dhaka court has placed Sharmin Jahan, the owner of Aparajita Trade International and a former Bangladesh Chhatra League leader, on a three-day remand.
Police, on Friday night, arrested Sharmin in Shahbagh, Dhaka.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Justice Moinul Islam granted the remand to Sharmin when police produced her before the court on Saturday.
Earlier on Thursday night, the BSMMU authorities filed a case with the Shahbagh Police Station over the supply of fake masks to the hospital.
They alleged that the masks were of poor quality and the frontline fighters amid Covid-19 outbreak would be at risk due to these flaws.
BSMMU Proctor Mozaffar Ahmed was the plaintiff in the case.
In the complaint, the BSMMU proctor said the university needed to procure face masks for Covid-19 patients.
The university authorities "verbally" asked a few suppliers to submit their samples for a primary selection following a meeting chaired by the university vice-chancellor.
After receiving the samples from two companies, including one from Aparajita Trade, the authorities sent the samples to the government-approved Dycine International Limited which conducted a breathing test plus examined particulate filtration efficiency, splash resistance, and bacterial filtration efficiency.
On June 23, the samples provided by Aparajita Trade were found comparably better and the company submitted its quotation for the price.
The university authorities, on June 27, issued a work order to the Aparajita for 11,000 face masks.
The complaint stated that Aparajita Trade supplied 3,460 out of 11,000 pieces of masks between June 30 and July 13 in four phases. However, the masks were found substandard while many were torn and found to be counterfeit ones during an authentication.
It said the products claimed to have been shipped from the United States could not have had wrong spellings.
The case statement also said that Aparajita's Sharmin was served a show-cause notice on July 18 and, she replied on July 20, expressing her regrets over the fact that the supplied items were not up to the mark.
On July 18, the BSMMU authorities served a notice, seeking an explanation over the masks. Following that, the hospital decided to sue Sharmin.