Fraudsters had been quite active for long well before the arrival of coronavirus in this country. But during the pandemic, they seem to be super active. Right from the time there was indication that vaccine/s would be available for application in human body, many experts at home and abroad expressed concern over spurious ones hitting the market. Only in rare cases this has happened.
Notorious fraudster Shahed Karim who has to his credit resorting to a host of malpractices started issuing fake coronavirus report without test. His luck ran out before he could take his notoriety to the next level. So far no private hospitals have been given permission to procure or deliver jabs. This may have been the primary reason for fraudsters not taking undue advantage of applying spurious vaccines here.
However, this has not deterred another cheat named Debanjan Deb from Kolkata. What he did is a most ingenious and daring act of fraudulence. Impersonating as a joint commissioner of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), he arranged not one but two vaccination camps in that city. Thousands were administered jabs of what most likely were antibacterial injections. Mimi Chakraborty, actress and Trinamool Congress Member of Parliament (MP) received a jab at one such camp at Kasba.
The scam got busted when she suspected foul play. She was invited to participate in the vaccination drive at Kasba and received the jab in order to inspire others but when she asked for vaccination certificate, she was told she would receive one in 3-4 days and would be informed through a text message. Without receiving any such message, her apprehension was confirmed and she informed the nearest police station for taking necessary steps including closing down the camp and arresting the trickster.
Debanjan and Shahed were not only adept in impersonation, they have also close similarities in several other tricky aspects. One of these is their manoeuvred associations with high-profile personalities and people in the corridor of power. Pictures and video clips with such people have been randomly used by both men to make people convinced of their power and reach. This was done to swindle money. Debanjan swindled money from jobseekers on the promise that they would be provided with job at KMC.
Perhaps the arrangement of fake vaccination camps was done with even higher ambition in mind. Unfortunately for him but fortunately for his victims and also the would-be ones, his crime has become public before he could do more harms.
People like him and Shahed are devoid of humanity, they are monsters incarnation. Bangladesh has no dearth of such monsters as well. Reports have it that some infamous multi-level marketing (MLM) companies and their new versions are back in business in the name of e-commerce, e-business, direct tele-market and cashless societies.
One such company carrying MLM business since 2016 allegedly under the guise of e-commerce was Novera Products Limited housed at Paltan's Rupayan Taj Centre. It has been charged with swindling Tk 6.0 billion from unsuspecting customers before leaving its Paltan office and Mirpur executive office vacant.
The latest is that Rafikul Amin who has been pretending illness to be shifted to hospitals from jail has of late held two zoom meetings from his confinement at BSMMU. He has been conducting MLM business in a new form like old wine in a new bottle. Old habits die hard. These swindlers and fraudsters can go to any length in order to advance their malpractices and selfish interests. No man with the slightest humanity left in him can engage in such devious criminalities in time of the pandemic. Let them be meted out exemplary punishment in order to deter others of their kind harbouring any idea of committing such monstrous acts of deception.