Some 50 staffers, mostly data entry operators, of different projects of the Election Commission’s Chattogram office are under the scanner, after investigators found their involvement in making Bangladeshi National Identity (NID) cards for the Rohingya people, police said.
Members of the Counter Terrorism (CT) unit yesterday detained four more data entry operators for interrogation in a case filed over the NID forgery.
Earlier, police arrested technical expert Mostafa Faruq with an official laptop of the EC, voter signature pads, an internet modem, and flash drives containing information about some Rohingya people.
The latest detainees are: Md Shahin, Fahmida, Pavel Barua and Md Jahid, said sources in the CT unit.
Of them, Shahin and Fahmida are data entry operators of the Kotwali thana Election Commission office. Pavel and Jahid are data entry operators of Double Mooring and Bandar thana EC office.
The four were picked up from their workstation at the district Election Commission office around 1:00pm, said Mohammed Shahidullah, deputy commissioner (CT unit) of the Chittagong Metropolitan Police.
“We are trying to verify some information gleaned from the other arrestees,” he said.
“Joynal, who was arrested earlier, and Mustafa gave some information and names during interrogation and police are scrutinising those.”
Joynal was arrested with an official laptop of the EC on September 17.
Joynal and Mustafa confessed to making Bangladeshi NID cards for Rohingyas for money, police said.
Joynal made a confessional statement before a magistrate on Saturday while Mustafa is on a five-day remand.
Police officials said two other suspects -- Sagor and Satya Sundor Dey -- were also outsourced staffers of the EC and they worked as data entry operators. They are on the run.
They had been including Rohingya people in the voter list with the help of an organised syndicate using the Election Commission devices, police and EC officials said.
More than 50 people are working as outsourced employees in different projects of the EC. Of them, 24 are data entry operators, said Munir Hossain Khan, Election Officer of Chattogram district.
The rest are support staff, proof-readers and others, he said.
EC sources said the 50 outsourced staffers were working at field level under six zones of the EC in Chattogram. They are paid on a daily basis.
The EC has some permanent data entry operators as well.
“As the forgery came to light, we are very alert about the outsourced staffers. We have changed our work pattern,” said Munir.
Earlier this month, 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.
Recently, a government probe body found that at least 73 suspicious applications were uploaded to the Election Commission database for issuing NID cards.