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Bangladesh top e-commerce firm Evaly CEO arrested over a lawsuit

Earlier in a press briefing, Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary to the Commerce Ministry said that Evaly had violated numerous provisions of the Penal Code 1860, Digital Security Act, and Consumer Rights Protection Act.

Dhaka:  A team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has e-commerce platform Evaly’s CEO’s raided the residence of its CEO, Mohammad Rassel, on Thursday. The arrests were made during a raid at Rassel’s flat at the capital’s Mohammadpur at 4 pm, RAB spokesperson Commander Khondokar Al Moin confirmed.

The raid comes hours after an Evaly customer brought charges of fraud and threatening with life against Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin, the chairman of the e-tailer in a case filed with the police in Dhaka earlier in the day.

The elite police unit started the raid based on specific allegations, RAB Legal and Media wing Assistant Director ANM Imran Khan media. “We will notify you later about the allegation. It could be based on the law-suite filed today or could be on other allegations,” he said.

He added that another raid is likely to be carried out at the Evaly headquarters in Sobhanbagh. E-commerce shopping platform Evaly has been mired in controversy as consumers complained of not receiving products or their refunds.

After being taken to RAB HQ, its spokesperson Commander Khondokar Al Moin told the media: “The arrests were made upon earlier allegations of fraud and embezzlement. From his possession, some business documents were recovered. A customer named Arif filed a case with Gulshan Police Station earlier. After initial interrogation, according to law, the duo will be handed over to the respective police station,”

Arif Baker, a customer had filed a case against Evaly CEO Mohammad Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin, chairman of the e-commerce platform with Gulshan police station on charges of embezzlement and death threats on Thursday morning.

According to the case statement, the plaintiff noticed Evaly’s advertising in May and made orders worth Tk 310,000 from the site. The orders have yet to be fulfilled, long after they were made.

Baker contacted the Evaly offices and its CEO over the purchases and he responded with death threats, “frightening” the man. The case claims financial damages as well as mental stress due to the incident.

Earlier in a press briefing, Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary to the said that Evaly had violated numerous provisions of the Penal Code 1860, Digital Security Act, and Consumer Rights Protection Act.

Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary to the told Dhaka Tribune that Evaly has been violating laws, for which the matter has been handed over to law enforcement agencies for taking legal action and the intervention of the Home ministry will be sought.

According to the Commerce Ministry, the liability of the platforms might be higher than what has been reported. The central bank earlier found that Evaly owes customers and merchants Tk403 crore with a current capital of Tk65 crore.

But later, in two different submissions to the Commerce Ministry, the platform’s liability was even found to be higher than what the central bank had initially found. Evaly informed that they owe Tk311 crore to customers and Tk206 crore to the merchants, even submitting its financial statements for the third time to the commerce ministry.

Earlier, the central bank had sent a letter to the Commerce Ministry in this regard advising third-party audits. However, the commerce secretary explained that any company has its secrets and cannot be forced to disclose financial statements until legally instructed by the court.

“We are currently looking into the matter if the law permits us to do so,” said the commerce secretary.

Earlier the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had written to several governments organizations seeking related documents on Evaly and a Dhaka court-imposed travel ban on Mohammad Rassel and his wife Shamima Nasrin from traveling abroad amid the ongoing probe into charges of embezzlement against the e-commerce company.

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