A journalist has been arrested in Khulna in a case filed under the Digital Security Act for publishing “false” information on the number of votes cast in a constituency during Sunday's polls.
Hedayet Hossain Mollah, local correspondent of the Dhaka Tribune, was arrested yesterday, a day after the case was filed against two reporters, including him, with Batiaghata Police Station in the district.
The other accused is Rashidul Islam, staff reporter of the daily Manab Zamin, reports our correspondent in Khulna.
According to the initial announcement of the election results, the number of votes cast in Khulna-1 was higher than the total number of voters in the constituency. As the matter was brought to the returning officer's attention, he said it was a mistake and later came up with a correction, said local journalists.
By the time the correction could be made, the two media outlets ran reports saying the number of votes cast was around 22,000 higher than the actual number of voters, they said.
Documents provided by the returning officer's office showed 45,000 of the 2,59,420 voters did not cast their ballots.
Batiaghata Upazila Nirbahi Officer Debashish Chowdhury, also the assistant returning officer, filed the case against the two journalists.
The case statement said the accused published false, fabricated and provocative information on the voting with the use of electronic devices, including laptops, which might confuse people and create a chaotic situation.
Such activities made the “fair election” questionable, the statement said.
Mahabubur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Batiaghata Police Station, told The Daily Star that they arrested Hedayet near Gallamary Bridge in connection with the case.
However, several witnesses said the journalist was picked up near Picture Palace intersection in the city when he was returning home from the Khulna Press Club.
Hedayet's wife Sayida Laila Akhter told this newspaper that she called her husband over the phone but another man picked it up and introduced himself as the OC of the police station.
“Last night, the returning officer had requested my husband to apologise for the news. Otherwise, he said my husband would face action,” she said.
Despite repeated attempts, the RO could not be reached over the phone for comments.
Handcuffed, Hedayet was produced before a district court which sent him to jail.
Meanwhile, a former deputy secretary of the Election Commission has been picked up by detectives in the city's Agargaon area for “leaking information on the election”.
Shamsul Alam was allegedly collecting election results submitted to the commission from across the country and sending those to “others”, said police and EC sources.
He was picked up near the Nirbachan Commission office on Monday night, they said.
GG Biswas, officer-in-charge of Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station, said the official was kept at the DB office on Mintoo Road.
Abdul Baten, additional commissioner (detectives) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said they picked up Shamsul for interrogation.