Monday, 17 January, 2022

Rehab centre turns into a drug hub

28 patients rescued, owner among 5 held

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 6 January, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
Rehab centre turns into a drug hub
Rab personnel arrest five employees, including the owner of Bhawal Drug Addicts Rehabilitation Centre, during a drive at the rehabilitation centre in Gazipur on Wednesday. — SUN photo

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Rapid Action Battalion-2 (Rab) on Tuesday conducted a raid Bhawal Drug Addicts and Rehabilitation Centre in Gazipur for allegedly keeping healthy people hostage for money in the name of addiction recovery and rehabilitation.

The elite force also rescued 28 people including film actor Anik Rahman Ovi from the shady rehab center. The owner of the rehab centre, Firoja Nazneen Badhon (35), and her four employees were also detained during the raid.

Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director (Legal and Media Wing) of the elite force, briefed this to reporters at RAB-2 headquarters at Mohammadpur in the capital on Wednesday.

Other arrestees are Monwar Hossain alias Sipon, 31, Mohammad Raihan, 20, Dipankar Shah, 44 and Jakir Hossain Ananda, 27.

Some 420 yaba pills, two sticks, a handcuff, a piece of rope, a toy pistol and an identity card of a newspaper were seized from them. Immediately after the drive, the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) sealed off the rehab centre. The RAB officer said the centre was used for drug trading and holding hostage people in the name of treatment to drug addicts. 

Dhallywood hero Anik Rahman Ovi was suffering from depression for not having any work during the Covid-19 pandemic. He began to take sleeping pills. After a few days, his family members noticed abnormalities in his behaviour. Then his family admitted him at Bhawal Drug Addicts and Rehabilitation Centre in March last year as per the advice of its owner of Firoja Nazneen Badhon.

Ovi’s family members first paid Tk 300,000 to the rehab centre. But the rehab centre carried out inhumane torture on Ovi and tactfully held him hostage there in the name of treatment, and took Tk 40,000 from his family every month.

The rehab centre took a large amount of money from the family members of the victims who were held hostage after they were admitted there for treatment.

During primary interrogation, Badhon said that she established the rehab centre in 2009 without any approval. The centre received temporary permission to run in 2013. Badhon said she took Tk 10,000-30,000 per month from each patient. Although the centre had the permission of keeping the highest 20 patients at a time, there were more patients at any given time.

There was no doctor in the rehab centre though they are supposed to have doctors as per the rules.

The victims, who were rescued, said that they were inhumanly tortured, and sexually harassed.  Victims were hanged from ceiling fans and beaten. Foods given to the patents were very substandard, RAB said.

Badhon and her four employees were found drug addicts in a dope tests, the RAB Commander informed. 

Bangladesh Cholochitro Shilpi Samiti informed RAB about the film actor’s situation in the rehab centre on January 1 this year.