Under pressure from the ruling Awami League men, Lalmonirhat police on Friday night released 19 of the 24 people, arrested for allegedly leaking questions of the examination held to recruit primary school teachers.
All the released people were members of either the Awami League or its youth front Jubo League or its student wing Chhatra League.
A number of officers of Lalmonirhat Sadar Police Station, where the arrestees had been kept, said they had to release them in the face of "immense pressure from local AL leaders". The officers, however, requested not to disclose their identities fearing repercussion.
After releasing the ruling party men, police filed two cases against the rest five, who had no political backing, in connection with the question paper leak.
The 24 were arrested on Friday from different parts of Lalmonirhat. Two of them were held while selling question papers before the exam and the others while preparing answers.
All the arrestees were from Hatibandha and Patgram upazilas, the constituency area of AL lawmaker and former state minister for primary education Motahar Hossain.
Following their arrest, around 300 ruling party men led by district AL general secretary advocate Motiar Rahman came to the police station around 7:30pm that evening and started "negotiating" for their release, sources said.
And they only left around 12:30am when the 19 were released unconditionally. When this correspondent talked to Motiar Rahman, he said, "There is no legal provision against question paper leak. Then why should these people be arrested?"
Contacted, OC Mahfuzur Rahman said they were released as police found they had no involvement with the incident. He also denied the allegation of political pressure and said he had informed higher authorities before releasing the arrestees.
Echoing the OC, Superintendent of Police of the district Mojahedul Islam too said police didn't consider political affiliations in releasing them.
The relatives of the five, who were sued in two cases, however, claimed that they were innocent. Instead of releasing them, police sued the five only because they had no political clout.