A group of merchants and customers of the controversial e-commerce platform Evaly have demanded the unconditional release of the company's CEO, Mohammad Rassel, and Chairperson Shamima Nasrin so that they can get back their money stuck with the company.
From a human chain in the capital on Friday, they urged the government to release Rassel for the sake of local e-commerce business.
Terming the case against Rassel fabricated, Mamun, an Evaly customer, said, "The plaintiff has an order worth Tk3 lakh only. There are customers here who placed orders worth Tk30 lakh."
"The government has arrested Rassel. Now, who will return our money? Will the government return our money? If the government refunds our money, we will leave the protest and go home," he added.
What about the crores of taka of buyers and sellers?!
Mahmudul Haque Masud, president of the E-commerce Sellers Association of Bangladesh, said, "On behalf of the association, we talked to Evaly CEO Mohammad Rassel one week ago. He told us he would pay the sellers within six months. We accepted that. But now he has been arrested suddenly. Now, what will happen to the crores of taka of the sellers? What about the crores of taka of customers?"
"Evaly was not made in a day. Where were the authorities? There was the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-Cab), there was the commerce ministry, there was the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, and there was the Bangladesh Competition Commission. What did the IT cell of the commerce ministry do? What will happen to us now? One cannot cut off his head because of a headache," he added.
Police, however, removed the protesters from the Shahbagh intersection around 5.30pm.
"Since they organised the protest without permission, police removed them from the spot," said Sheikh Md Kamruzzaman, police inspector at Shahbagh Police Station.
e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB) Vice-President Mohammad Sahab Uddin told The Business Standard they were unaware that such an organisation called E-commerce Seller Association of Bangladesh did really exist.
"We even do not know if they have registration. If some people stand with a banner, it does not make them an organisation. To be an organisation, it has to have registration with the commerce ministry," he said.
"But we have never seen such an organisation," he added.
"e-CAB for the last one year has advised customers against the controversial activities of Evaly. We have also advised the affected people to take legal help from the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection," he said.
Rapid Action Battalion sources said most of the people who are protesting at Evaly managing director's arrest are sellers.
The company and its sellers gained profits from every delivery or order. Those who are actually suffering are the ordinary customers, they added.
Earlier on Thursday, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) detained Rassel and his wife Shamima after an hour-long drive at their Mohammadpur residence following an embezzlement case filed against them.