BNP on Monday wanted to know as to why action is not being taken against the "godfathers" who abetted the owners of Regent Hospital and JKG Healthcare in deceiving people by providing false coronavirus certificates.
"Regent Hospital’s Shahed and JKG chairman (Sabrina) and all others involved in corona report scams belong to Awami League. As people were voicing concern over not catching the big fish, only one person (Dr Sabrina) was caught yesterday (Saturday),” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He further said, "We want to know the powerful godfathers who backed fraudsters from behind. They’re still not being caught. You (govt) won’t be able to arrest those abetted Shahed and JKG as they are big fish and belong to the ruling party.”
The BNP leader came up with the remarks while inaugurating a homeopathic medical camp for corona patients at the party’s Nayapaltan central office.
He said people are condemning the ruling party leaders as they have seen their photos with Shahed in the newspapers. “There’s hardly any ruling party leader who has no relation with the regent hospital owner. Even, the health directorate allowed his hospital to conduct corona tests on behalf of the government.”
Rizvi criticised the ruling party leaders for what he said their efforts to brand Shahed as a man of Hawa Bhaban to save their face by blaming BNP. “The reality is that Shahed used to participate in talk shows as a ruling party leader and its sub-committee member on international affairs.”
He also said the ruling party men are neither working for humanity nor standing beside people as they are busy plundering public money. “The relief materials bought with public money were found at ruling party leaders’ homes or garages.”
Referring to media reports, the BNP leader said the health minister’s son was involved in mask and other equipment procurement scams.
Rizvi also said their party leaders and activists have long been standing beside people spending money from their own pockets while ruling party leaders have been embezzling public money in different ways.
He called upon people to get united and put up a strong resistance against the government’s all ‘misdeeds’ and ‘repressive’ acts.
Jatiya Party will observe the first death anniversary of its founder HM Ershad on Tuesday.
The party has worked out elaborate programmes to mark the death anniversary with due respect.
However, all the programmes will be held maintaining social distancing and health rules due to the coronavirus pandemic, said a party press release on Monday.
As part of the programmes, Jatiya Party flag will be kept at half-mast atop all the offices of the party across the country tomorrow.
Besides, Qurankhawani, milad mahfil and discussion meetings will be arranged at all the offices of the party on the occasion seeking eternal peace for Ershad’s departed soul.
Jatiya Party senior leaders, led by its chairman GM Quader, will offer fateha at the grave of Ershad in Rangpur at 10am the same day. A doa-mahfil-cum discussion meeting will also be held there.
Later, GM Quader and other the party leaders will return to Dhaka and join a doa mahfil and discussion meeting at Jatiya Party’s Kakrail central office in the capital at 4:30pm.
A doa mahfil and Qurankhawani will also be held at the Jatiya Party Chairman’s Banani office.
Meanwhile, party co-chairman Syed Abu Hossain Babla will place wreaths at Ershad’s portrait on the party’s Kakrail office premises at 10:30am on behalf of GM Quader.
HM Ershad, who was ousted in 1990 after his nine years of autocratic rule, died on July 14 last year at the age of 89 while undergoing treatment at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Dhaka.
Amid political turmoil after the assassination of Ziaur Rahman by an army cabal, Ershad took over the state power from then-President Abdus Sattar on March 24, 1982, as the Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) through a bloodless coup.
He formed 'Jatiya Party' in 1986 and was elected President for a term of five years the same year through the third parliamentary election, triggering huge protests by other political parties.
Amid a fierce combined movement by the opposition parties, he was finally forced to step down on 6 December 1990.
Issuing a note of warning, Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Monday said those who are spoiling the image of the party by accumulating wealth illegally will not be spared.
Obaidul, also the Road, Transport and Bridges Minister, came up with the remark while speaking at a regular online briefing from his residence.
Describing Awami League as the organisation of the people of the country and its soil, he said, “No one will be allowed to make his fortune resorting to irregularities abusing the name of the party. There's no place for the greedy and conspirators in Awami League.”
The government has taken a tough stance against irregularities and corruption in every sector, including illegal casino business, relief activities and health sectors as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is taking action after unearthing corruption, said Quader.
Talking about BNP, the minister said, “Instead of standing beside the helpless people of the country, BNP is now observing their political isolation and doing criticisms of the government as they can’t see people’s miseries. BNP is resorting to spreading falsehood as its political strategy.”
Now the people of the country no longer like the politics of blaming others, he said adding “Now the politics should be for saving people and preventing the coronavirus spread.”
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday said Health Minister Zahid Maleque should step down as Regent Hospital was allowed to conduct corona tests and treatment at the ‘behest of his ministry’.
"The health minister and the Health Directorate are now at loggerheads. The Health Directorate is saying it wouldn’t have approved Regent Hospital to conduct tests had it not been instructed by the ministry,” he said.
The BNP leader further said, "Then who is responsible?" The health minister himself should resign immediately, and he should be put on trial for giving it (Regent Hospital) permission to carry out tests.”
He made the remarks while inaugurating Ziaur Rahman Foundation’s healthcare hotline for the Covid-19 patients through a virtual opening programme.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) recently sealed off the head office of Regent Group and its hospital in the city’s Uttara and Mirpur areas on charges of issuing fake Covid-19 test certificates and collecting money from Covid-19 patients.
Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has recently said they made an agreement with Reget Hospital allowing it to treat the Covid-19 patients as per the instruction of the health ministry's ‘higher authorities’.
Fakhrul said it is shameful and regrettable that Awami League men are indulging in irregularities in the name of coronavirus tests at this bad time of the nation. “The entire health system has collapsed due to widespread plundering.”
He alleged that people are going through serious ordeals losing their sources of income as the virus has spread everywhere badly for lack of effective preventive measures.
The BNP leader urged their party leaders and activists to work together to assuage public sufferings and unite people to get rid of ‘misrule repression, and plundering’.
BNP on Saturday alleged that the government has not taken any initiative to stand by flood-hit people though they are going through serious hurdles.
“The government has no action in flood-affected areas. They've to take initiatives to assist the flood victims and ease their sufferings,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He came up with the allegation at a virtual press briefing from BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
Rizvi said people are going through immense sufferings as the flood has hit the country which has already been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The BNP leader said the houses of the poor people have been submerged due to due to incessant rains, putting them in trouble to save their lives and their livestock.
He urged all, including BNP leaders and workers, to come forward immediately to save the people in the flood-hit areas.
Rizvi said the flood situation in the northern and eastern regions of the country has deteriorated sharply, leaving lakhs of people marooned.
He said several hundred kilometers of roads in Sylhet and Sunamganj have been damaged by the floods caused by heavy rains and onrush of water from the upstream.
The BNP leader said Chandpur town is also now at a risk due to the rise in water levels of the rivers.
Besides, he said, different areas of the central region, including Faridpur, have been inundated with floodwaters.
Rizvi said huge areas of the northern districts, including Kurigram, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur and Gaibandha, went under floodwaters as India opened all sluice-gates at Gajoldoba barrage amid heavy rains and onrush of water from upstream hills.
About the corona situation, he said people are dying every day for lack of treatment and necessary healthcare at the hospitals.
“People are being deprived of treatment. But the ruling party men are misappropriating hundreds of crores of taka in the name of procuring medical equipment even at this crisis period. Corruption, irregularities, theft and extortion have never been as rampant as that are now under the Awami League regime,” Rizvi observed.