Psychiatrists have opposed the police’s arrest of National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital Registrar Dr Abdullah Al Mamun in connection with the death of senior ASP Anisul Karim after he was assaulted by staffers of Mind Aid Psychiatry and De-Addiction Hospital on November 9.
At a press conference yesterday at NIMH premises, Bangladesh Association of Psychiatrists President Prof Waziul Alam Chowdhury expressed distrust over the investigation by police and demanded a judicial probe into the death of the police official and the arrest of their colleague Dr Mamun.
“It raises a question over the police’s investigation into the case… So, we demanded a judicial probe,” the BAP president said.
Terming Dr Mamun’s arrest “unjustified”, they called police’s assertion that he took commissions through brokers from private hospital for referrals a false one.
Demanding the unconditional release of Dr Mamun, BAP announced closure of all psychiatrists’ private chambers and online healthcare services until further notice and vowed to announce tougher programmes from tomorrow.
BAP said they arranged the press conference to clarify “misinformation” and present the truth in front of journalists. NIMH Director Prof Dr Bidhan Ranjan Roy Podder and other doctors and staffers were also present.
They said Anisul’s sister and her husband, who are doctors by profession, took the police officer, escorted by three policemen, to NIMH around 6:50am on November 9. Dr Bidhan said Anisul’s hands were tied with towels at that time and it was all captured in the CCTV footage.
In a written statement, BAP Vice-president Brig Gen Prof Azizul Islam said, “He [Anisul] was apparently very angry and violent, which is why three policemen escorted him to the hospital. He was first taken to the observation room and given a relaxing injection.
“Later, the hospital’s resident surgeon advised that he be admitted to the hospital, which was noted in the outdoor ticket. But Anisul Karim’s family refused to admit him. In the document, it’s noted as ‘refused admission’.
“The family members contacted Dr Mamun through another doctor of the hospital. Afterwards, Anisul’s family members decided on their own to admit their patient to Mind Aid Hospital.”
Assistant Professor Dr Sahana Parvin of NIMH said she could not determine whether it was a case of drug addiction or mental health issue as Anisul displayed symptoms that matched both conditions.
But according to his history, the police official had “high-pressure and went through two episodes in 2016 and in 2020”, she said.
“His family members told me that the police official was so aggressive that they couldn’t go near him,” she said without going into further detail.
NIMH Associate Professor Dr Mekhala Sarker, also Scientific affairs secretary of BAP, said Anisul’s sister Dr Umme Salma contacted Dr Muslima Haque, the indoor medical officer of NIMH, over phone on November 7 around 5:40pm and wanted to know about the treatment at NIMH as one of her relatives was going through mental health issues.
The next day, they calledtwice and then Umme Salma’s husband Dr Rashidul visited NIMH. He also met an NIMH doctor who had studied at the same institution as Rashidul.
Rashidul had said they did not like the environment of the outdoor and they were also not comfortable with the regulation of compulsory attendant from the patient’s side, Dr Mekhala said.
NIMH Director Dr Bidhan said their internal investigation did not find that Dr Mamun had any role in sending ASP Anisul to Mind Aid Psychiatry and De-Addiction Hospital.
On Tuesday, police arrested the NIMH registrar from Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area and placed him on a two-day remand, alleging that the doctor had referred Anisul from NIMH to Mind Aid Psychiatry and De-Addiction Hospital as he received commissions for such referrals.
‘DR MAMUN RECEIVED OVER TK 10 LAKH IN COMMISSIONS FROM MIND AID’
Investigators found that NIMH Registrar Dr Mamun referred as many as 25 patients to Mind Aid Psychiatry and De-Addiction Hospital in the city’s Adabor area between July 2019 and November 2020 and made over Tk10 lakh in commission over referring patients to the private facility, the office of DMP Tejgaon Zone’s deputy commissioner said in a Facebook post yesterday.
Dr Mamun also ran a private practice at the facility, for which he was paid separately, according to police, adding that several other doctors of NIMH and other government hospitals were also maintaining private practices at Mind Aid and referred patients there.
Dr Mamun’s two-day remand ended yesterday.
With Dr Mamun, 13 people, including two directors of the hospital, have so far been arrested in the case.
Anisul’s father Faijuddin Ahmed filed the case with Adabor Police Station on November 10, accusing 15 people including five shareholders of the hospital for murdering his son.
Six out of 10 arrested employees of Mind Aid hospital confessed before a Dhaka court to their involvement in Anisul’s death after competition of each of their seven-day remands.
The hospital’s three other directors are still on the run.