National Identity Cards: At least 73 dubious applications in EC database

Finds government probe body
Election Comission

At least 73 suspicious applications were uploaded to the Election Commission database for issuing national identity cards, a government committee has found while probing the forged NID card of a Rohingya woman in Chattogram. 

However, the two-member body, led by Kotwali Thana Election Officer Kamrul Alam in the port city, could not determine from which EC office those were uploaded.

The committee submitted the probe report to Chattogram District Election Officer Munir Hussain Khan on Monday.  

It recommended a thorough probe to know how the data was inserted into the EC server. It also suggested engaging a team of technical experts to trace the laptop and modem used to upload the information to the server.

“It is a mystery how the information was uploaded to the EC server. Onlythe designated persons at the Election Commission know the code,” said Munir.

A team of technical experts from the capital will arrive in the port city tomorrow to carry out further investigation, he added.

Talking to this correspondent, Kamrul said the applicants are residents of different districts, and the application forms were issued from various places.

“But all of those were supposed to be issued from the same area or adjacent areas,” he said.

“Of those, some were issued from Chattogram, some from Cox’s Bazar, some from Laxmipur and several others from Bandarban.”

Fourteen of the application forms contain addresses in Kotwali thana area in the port city. 

“I can confirm that the data on none of the 14 forms was inserted into the server from my office. And there is no backup file on any of those forms in my office,” said the Kotwali thana election officer.

On August 18, a 27-year-old woman, who identified herself as Lucky, went to the office of Senior Election Officer in Chattogram to collect smart NID card.

The election officer found her NID card fake. The officer also learnt that the information on the forged card was uploaded to the EC server this year with an address at Mirzapur village in Chattogram’s Hathazari upazila.

The officer then contacted Hathazari Thana Election Office and came to know that the data was not uploaded to the EC server from that office. There was no backup file on the NID at the office and her name was not on the voter list in the area.

At one stage of questioning, she admitted that her real name was Ramzan Bibi.

She was handed over to police, and a case was filed with Kotwali police station.

During interrogation, the woman told police that her real age was 32, and she trespassed into Bangladesh from Myanmar in 2014 and started living at Nayapara Muchni camp in Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf, said sources at the police station.

She married Nazeer Ahmed, 38, a Rohingya, at the camp in 2014. The couple has twin three-year-old daughters. Nazeer got the forged NID card for her, using a fake name and false information, added the sources.

On August 19, the Chattogram district election officer formed the two-member body to investigate the forgery.

“We found that her NID card was issued in 2016 but the information on it was uploaded to the EC server this year,” said Kamrul, who led the probe.

“During investigation, we learnt that the NID application form (serial no 41866368), having a permanent address at Mirzapur village in Hathazari upazila was not issued from Hathazari Thana Election Office. Even the information on the form was not uploaded to EC server from the Hathazari office.

“We then decided to verify 100 NID forms from serial no 41866301 to 41866400 and found that 73 of those were suspicious,” he added.

Pahartoli Thana Election Officer MK Ahmed, the other member of the probe body, suspected that a well-organised gang was behind the forgery.

“The team of technical experts will be able to detect the laptop and modem through which the information was uploaded to the EC server.

“Once, the devices are detected, the persons behind the forgery will be identified,” he added.