The answer to the million-dollar question of reviving Evaly with the help of fresh investment or liquidating it is still unknown as no one has managed the access to its server to learn the actual picture of liabilities.
The company used Amazon Web Services for its server and Amazon does not allow any password recovery, while Evaly founders have been claiming that they cannot recall the password that was "written in a black diary" found nowhere, said directors of Evaly's interim board appointed by the High Court.
At a press conference on Friday in the Evaly office at Dhanmondi, Dhaka, they said, "Even engaging the most capable offices and agencies of the country, we could not secure access to the Evaly server."
Several thousand items of Evaly products worth Tk25 crore are in the two Evaly warehouses, while some Tk25 crore of customer advances are stuck in the online payment gateways, and Evaly bank accounts are empty, said Mahbub Kabir Milon, a former bureaucrat serving as Evaly managing director right now.
Against the perceived liabilities, Evaly's Tk50 crore tangible assets are a drop in the ocean, said Evaly Chairman Justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik.
"We are working hard so that Evaly's liquidation can be averted," said Justice Shamsuddin, adding that the business would need fresh investment for that and its detained founder and managing director Mohammad Rassel expressed his written hope in this regard before the court.
However, auditor Hoda Vasi Chowdhury & Co Chartered Accountants, aggregating all the transaction data, is trying to assess Evaly's financial picture and the audit report is expected to be finalised by the end of July.
Mohammad Rassel and his wife Evaly's founder chairman Shamima Nasrin were arrested by the Rapid Action Battalion on 16 September 2021 following legal actions by its customers who did not receive products after paying the discounted prices in advance long ago.
Later, the High Court appointed an interim board of directors comprising expertise of legal, administrative, accounting and other fields to take care of the affairs until its revival or liquidation.
Evaly, founded in 16 December, 2018 pretending to be driven by dreams to build an Amazon or Alibaba of Bangladesh, grew too big, riding on dangerous business model, offering abnormal discounts to attract as many as customers, taking advances from them and delivering products months later, while it was apparent that the firm was depending on fresh flow of advances from customers to clear the previous bills and running the business was synonymous to increasing the liabilities of the firm, identical to a Ponzi scheme.
It all happened before the regulators, policymakers addressed the risk of the widening liabilities of the business and an increasing number of people trapped there.
Burning customer advances, Mohammad Rassel was arguing about creating intangible assets of a gigantic customer and merchant base, while dozens followed him to adopt a similar model and all collapsed one by one since the mid-2021 when regulations came restricting the pay-less now and get-the-full once later model in e-commerce.
Evaly has left hundreds of merchants and several million customers in the lurch.
There are merchants to whom Evaly owes several hundred crores of taka, while the figures are found to vary from several hundred to several crore taka in cases of the customers.
A large number of them, in contrast to the analysts' perspective, still believe Evaly founder Mohammad Rassel knows it all how to come back.
During the interim board's press briefing on Friday afternoon, a group of them were demonstrating in front of Evaly office chanting for the bail of Mohammad Rassel and let him try to revive the business.