But the sentence does not stem from the collapse of the apparel manufacturing building, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,130 people. Instead, the prison term is from a case filed by the Anticorruption Unit for failing to file his wealth details following a notice by the organization on April 2, 2015. Rana was already in jail in Gazipur at the time, following a charge sheet for the building’s collapse.
A two-member probe into his wealth revealed that Rana had built two commercial buildings — Rana Plaza and Rana Tower — in Savar with money that was illegally obtained. His five-story residential building and other assets have also been under investigation.
Rana currently faces up to six court cases, including violations of the Bangladesh National Building Code and culpable homicide.
In addition to the more than 1,130 workers killed in the building collapse on April 24, 2013, about 2,500 others were injured, with many losing limbs. Rana was arrested by Bangladesh police on April 28, 2013, after being on the run for a few days.
More than 42 people have been chargesheeted in the Rana Plaza collapse case, with charges of culpable homicide and building code violations. According to the police, Rana and some of the factory owners ignored warnings about structural damage to the building and workers were forced to go to work on the fateful day. There were five garment factories operating in the building.
In response to the disaster, global retailers, brands, governments and nongovernment organizations responded with monetary help as well as setting up systems to improve factory safety and labor rights in Bangladesh so that workers are able to watch out for their own safety.
Bangladesh is the second-largest garment producer in the world after China with garment exports of $26.5 billion in 2016. The industry employs more than four million workers, two-thirds of whom are women.
Faruq Ahmed, Sohel Rana’s counsel, said that the conviction for a prison term and a 50,000 taka, or $615.59 at current exchange, fine would be challenged in a higher court.
Rana’s parents, Morzina Begum and Abdul Khaleque, have also been chargesheeted by the organization for illegal wealth of about 170 million taka, or $2.07 million.