Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday said expelled Jubo Mohila League leader Shamima Nur Papia was arrested as per the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
"The prime minister herself was aware of the incident and she has given the instruction to arrest her [Papia] and bring her to book following an investigation," said Quader, also the general secretary of ruling Awami League.
No one will be spared if he or she commits crimes during Awami League's tenure, Quader said. The government has taken a zero-tolerance policy in this regard and will maintain it in future, he added.
Quader was replying to reporters' queries about the arrest of Papia, who was placed on 15-day remand on Monday, and its aftermath after attending a contract signing programme at Setu Bhaban in Banani.
According to Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), Papia -- aided by her husband Mofizur Rahman Sumon -- ran a sex trade and arms rackets.
The couple was arrested from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Saturday. Later, Papia, who was general secretary of Jubo Mohila League's Narsingdi District Unit, was expelled from her organisation.
Quader initially declined to comment on the issue.
"I won't answer this question. I have answered it yesterday [Monday]," said Quader, who had previously told reporters on Monday at his secretariat office that no one would be spared if they committed crimes.
But following several questions regarding the matter yesterday, he commented.
He said AL and its chief Sheikh Hasina has set an example by punishing its own party members who were involved in misdeeds. But BNP, whose leaders and activists have been involved in many misdeeds while in power, had never taken action against its party members for committing crimes, Quader said.
He said AL is a big party comprising both good people and bad, and added, "We never claim that all are good but If anyone is identified for misdeeds, he or she is punished."
Replying to another question on whether action would be taken against the people behind Papia and similar offenders, Quader said action would be taken against all. "There are many types of punishments. There are many who are currently behind the scenes, but they would face difficulty in getting party or government posts; that is also a kind of punishment."