A Dhaka court yesterday sent Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, to jail rejecting prayers for bail and remand in a case filed for extortion.
Safe Road and Transport Alliance, meanwhile, expressed concern over his arrest and called on the government to release him.
Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Golam Nabi yesterday passed the order after Investigation Officer Bajlur Rahman, also a sub-inspector of Mirpur Model Police Station, produced Mozammel before the court with a fresh five-day remand prayer.
Lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua sought bail for Mozammel and cancellation of the remand prayer.
The IO in his prayer said important information regarding the case was obtained from the accused during the one-day remand and that their primary investigation revealed that “the accused used to demand and extort money from various transport workers associations”.
“ … it is necessary to take the accused on fresh remand for further questioning in order to recover the extorted money and get the names of his associates.”
Mozammel, a road safety campaigner, was placed on the one-day remand after he was arrested on Thursday for extortion, a charge his wife and fellow road safety campaigners termed false.
Police arrested Mozammel at his Sanarpar home in Narayanganj, two days after the case was filed with Mirpur Model Police Station.
In the case statement, complainant Md Dulal alleged that Mozammel, claiming to be a transport sector leader, demanded Tk 2 lakh from him, and he gave Mozammel Tk 10,000 in front of Sony Cinema Hall in Mirpur on September 3.
Meanwhile, Safe Road and Transport Alliance yesterday expressed deep shock and concern at the arrest of its member Mozzamel.
SROTA Convener Hossain Zillur Rahman said, “Mr Chowdhury's arrest will confuse and demoralise all those who are actively working to build awareness on road safety.”
In a statement, SROTA said JKS recently presented the statistics on road accidents during the Eid-Ul-Azha. It said JSK sources had confirmed SROTA that Mozammel was on his way to a talk show at ATN Bangla at the time of the alleged extortion at 5:00pm on September 3.
Newspaper reports published on September 7 had exposed serious inconsistencies in the first information report based on which Mozammel has been arrested, it added.
“SROTA is deeply concerned whether Mr Chowdhury is an unfortunate victim of malicious action by vested quarters because of his activism on road safety and passenger welfare.”
Mozammel and JKS has been championing government's call for greater awareness and responsible action by all stakeholders to deal with the national problem of road safety.
It called for unconditional release of Mozzamel and urged the government to ensure an enabling environment for stakeholders' engagement in promoting awareness and accountability for better road safety.