Sohel Rana, a 'patron' of the scam-tainted e-commerce platform e-Orange, is reportedly absconding after securing bail from an Indian court following his arrest for illegally crossing into the country. However, Bangladesh police said it was yet to receive any 'official' word on the matter from its Indian counterparts.
“Various media outlets have reported that Sohel has escaped. Journalists also raised the matter with the police. However, no information was exchanged through the official channels,” Assistant Inspector General Manzoor Rahman said on Sunday.
Reports indicate that an Indian court granted conditional bail to Sohel, a former police inspector, on Dec 8. However, his whereabouts are currently unknown.
Manzur said the police in Bangladesh are unaware of the situation with Sohel in India. “We don't have any information about his escape from India. The matter has not been officially communicated to the Bangladesh Police by India.”
Asked about the steps being taken by the police on the matter, Manzur said, "Since he is in India, we are working on the process to bring him back to the country."
“We last sent a letter to them [the Indian authorities] around September last year. They haven't responded either."
The Kolkata High Court's Jalpaiguri Circuit Bench sent Sohel to jail on charges of illegal trespass on Feb 23, 2022. He had since been serving time in Kolkata's Presidency Jail. But Sohel applied for bail in December last year, citing a deterioration in his health.
Later, an Indian court granted him bail on the condition that he attend the Mekhliganj Police Station in Cooch Behar every week and that he stay within its jurisdiction.
Citing the Cooch Behar's Superintendent of Police Sumit Kumar, Bangladeshi newspaper Samakal reports that Sohel went missing after receiving bail.
E-Orange came under the spotlight along with a few other e-commerce companies after they sued for embezzlement over their failure to deliver products despite taking money from customers.
On Sept 2, 2021, Md Russel, an aggrieved customer, filed the first case against e-Orange on behalf of 17 people, accusing the company of swindling customers out of more than Tk 8.8 million. A second case was started against the platform by Istiaq Hossain Titu, who accused the company of misappropriating Tk 7.64 million.
E-Orange's owner Sonia Mehzabin, her husband Mashukur Rahman, the company's Chief Operating Officer Aman Ullah and Sohel Rana were implicated in both cases.
Then on Sept 4, Sohel was arrested by India's Border Security Force on the country's border with Nepal, local media reported. The matter was subsequently confirmed by the country's police and a case was filed against him on charges of illegal entry.
Sohel joined the police force in Bangladesh in 2003 as a sub-inspector. But he lost his job later that year along with 21 others.
However, he rejoined the force in 2008. But in September 2021, the police issued a temporary dismissal order against him.