Fisheries and Livestock Minister SM Rezaul Karim today said ministry officials visited the ailing mother of ministry secretary Rawnak Mahmud out of sympathy.
"The secretary told me that his mother had been brought to the hospital in critical condition. Several officials of our ministry went to express their sympathy to his mother. Due to the large crowd, they (officials) themselves went to the hospital in rotation," said the minister.
He cited the secretary and said no officials were assigned on a rotational duty basis to attend to his mother, reports Prothom Alo.
He, however, declined to make any comment about an inquiry into the matter.
Earlier, it was reported that Rawnak Mahmud, secretary of Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, had assigned 24 officials and staffers, including a deputy secretary of the ministry, to attend to his ailing mother who is undergoing treatment at the National Heart Institute due to Covid-19 infection.
According to a duty roster circulated by different media outlets last night, the officials were divided into four shifts for three days. Rawnak's private secretary Azizul Islam was supposed to coordinate the roster duties.
As per the instruction, the overall condition of the secretary's mother had to be reported to the secretary's PS at all times, doctors had to be contacted, tests arranged and test reports collected quickly, a copy of which had to be sent to the PS on Whatsapp.
Hygiene rules must be followed near the patient and the patient's attendant must be notified of the presence of officers, said the directives.
The Business Standard tried to reach the ministry secretary, but he did not reply to any messages.
Later, TBS contacted his private secretary Azizul Islam. Denying the allegation, Azizul Islam said that the secretary's mother is 95-years-old. They have many relatives and close people in Dhaka. They are all crowding at the hospital. The official staff of the secretary's office and many officials of the ministry wanted to visit the secretary's ailing mother.
The secretary told them that if anyone wanted to go, they should go one by one. They should not crowd all together in the hospital.
Regarding the instructions on roster duty, he said the letter does not have any official number and signature, adding anyone could make such a paper, but it was not issued by the ministry.