Police await green light to arrest NID forgery suspects | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 02, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:22 AM, November 02, 2019

Police await green light to arrest NID forgery suspects

Law enforcers fear the delay may give them chance to destroy evidence

Investigators of the much-talked-about case of National Identity (NID) scam involving Rohingyas have been waiting for the green signal from high-ups to arrest the Election Commission (EC) staff members whose involvement were found in confessional statements of three forgery gang ring leaders.

Though a national security issue, investigation into the case -- filed with Kotwali Police Station on September 17 -- has remained stuck for over a month for not getting any response from the police high officials and other concerned bodies.

The case in being investigated by the Counter Terrorism (CT) unit of CMP.

A letter has already been sent to Police Headquarters and the home and public administration ministries, seeking the next course of action in this regard, said a top CT official. He said they have also mentioned names of the EC officials, allegedly involved in NID forgery.

However, a circular issued by the ministry of public administration last month, regarding arresting government officials has created legal tangles, said police sources. The notice said government permission is needed before arresting its officials.

Investigators fear that due to “delay in official procedure”, accused EC staffers may eventually get time to destroy the evidence.

So far, eight persons including an office assistant and two technical experts of Chattogram and Dhaka EC office have been arrested in this connection.

Chattogram EC office assistant Joynal, technical expert Omar Faruk and another technical expert of EC Headquarters Shah Nur Mia gave confessional statements before a court under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Joynal is the ringleader of a NID forgery gang while Shah Nur allegedly ran another gang from Dhaka.

In the confessional statements, the accused mentioned names of several top election officials and their associates who knew about the forgery, and disclosed how it had been committed in a well-organised manner, said investigators.

Two other FIR-named accused -- technical experts Satya Sundor and Sagor -- are on the run, said police.

Contacted, Deputy Commissioner of CMP CT unit Mohammed Shahidullah said, “We have learnt of several names from the trios’ statements. We are verifying those with utmost importance.”

“We are also communicating with the higher authorities in this regard. If evidence is found against them, they will be brought to book,” added the DC. He did not elaborate further for the sake of investigation.

CT officials said it’s not possible to use the official devices including laptops, signature pads and other instruments, seized from the arrestees, for a long time without the knowledge of EC officials.

“The evidence is related to device and technology. So, it’s important to arrest them [the EC officials and staffs] soon as they may destroy or erase those,” told a CT official, who is also a member of the investigation team. “We’re prepared and waiting for the arrest order,” said the official.

Asked, Investigation Officer (IO) of the case Inspector Rajesh Barua of CT unit declined to comment.

On September 15, Anti-Corruption Commission found that using official devices, several syndicates provided Bangladeshi NID to Rohingyas through forgery in exchange of huge amount of money, using the official computers.

ACC said several laptops of EC, directly connected to NID server, were stolen and EC has no official data about the missing laptops yet.

Police and passport officials said some Rohingya refugees were making Bangladeshi passports using forged NID cards with the help of some locals and Rohingya brokers.

The Rohingya people were using fake names and addresses while applying for the identification documents. EC officials still cannot say exactly how many Rohingyas have secured the cards through the illegal means.

After the incident, Double Mooring Thana Election Officer Pallabi Chakma filed the case accusing five people and several unknown in connection with the forgery.

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