Hedait Hossain Molla, the newspaper’s Khulna correspondent, was picked up by police in plain clothes in front of the Khulna Press Club, on charge of reporting ‘wrong’ information regarding election results
Plainclothes policemen on Tuesday arrested the Dhaka Tribune’s Khulna correspondent in a case filed by an assistant returning officer for providing “untrue” information regarding the 11th general election.
The arrestee, Hedait Hossain Molla, is also a correspondent for the Bangla Tribune, and the city editor of Khulna-based daily Probaho.
Rashidul Islam, the Khulna correspondent of Daily Manabzamin, was also sued under the same case.
Khulna Assistant Returning Officer and Batiaghata Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Debashish Chowdhury filed the case with Batiaghata police station, confirms the precinct’s officer-in-Charge (OC) Mahbubur Rahmarn.
In the first information report (FIR), Debashish Chowdhury wrote that despite 80% voter turnout in the Khulna 1 constituency, which encompasses the Batighata and Dacope upazilas Hedait had reported that 22,419 more votes were cast than the actual number of total voters in the constituency during Sunday’s general election.
In the case statement, Debashish claimed that contents of the report were untrue.
“The case documents included copies of the reports run by the Dhaka Tribune. Initial investigations suggest that they were based on false information,” said Inspector Sarkar Ibrahim Sohel of Batiaghata police, who is in charge of the investigation.
“The returning officer of Khulna, Md Helal Hossain [also the deputy commissioner of the district] informed the matter to Election Commission before the case was filed,” Inspector Sarkar Ibrahim said.
Rashidul, the other accused, is yet to be arrested, he said.
Hedait Hossain's wife Syeda Laila Akhter said: "Hedait went to the press club in the morning, but did not return home after that. He did not even receive calls on his phone. Then, a person received the call and said, ‘I am the Batiaghata Police Station OC (Investigation)’ and hung up.”
Laila Akhter further said: "I rushed home from work and talking to other reporters, I found out that police has arrested Hedait."
Meanwhile, a joint meeting of all journalists' organizations was held at the Khulna Press Club on Tuesday at 7pm to protest the arrest of journalist Hedait Hossain Molla.