A group of plainclothes men, who introduced themselves as detectives, allegedly picked up Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna at Banani in the capital, Dhaka, in the early hours of today.
Detective Branch of police however denied detaining Manna, whose two audio clips created quite a stir across the country.
According to Atiqur Rahman, a member of Nagorik Oikya central committee, a team of plainclothes men who claimed to be detectives picked up Manna from his niece’s house at Banani around 3:40am.
“Detectives did not arrest Manna,” DB Joint Commissioner Monirul Islam said at a a press briefing this morning.
The detectives are now investigating Manna’s phone conversations with BNP leader Sadeque Hossain Khoka and an unnamed person that had become public Sunday night, the DB official said.
“If we find the conversation genuine and provocative, we will arrest him following the legal procedures,” Islam said.
Talking to a private television channel yesterday, Manna apprehended that he might be arrested.
Meanwhile, Manna’s family this afternoon filed a general diary with Banani Police Station hours after detectives denied picking him up.
Begum Sultana, a sister-in-law of Manna, stated in the GD that though a group of plainclothes men, identifying themselves as detectives, picked up Manna from a Banani residence, the Detective Branch of Police denied it.
Manna is missing and his mobile phone is switched off since then, Sub-Inspector Farida Pervin of Banani police station quoted from the GD.
“A number of people in several vehicles picked up a prominent figure like Manna from a Banani house but police do not know anything about it. It’s hard to believe,” Mobaidur Rahman, brother of Manna, told reporters at the police station after the GD was filed around 1:45pm.
Bhuiyan Mahbub Hasan, officer-in-charge of Banani Police Station, said, “We have received the GD and have already started investigation.”
Of the two conversations, one was with BNP leader and former Dhaka mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka, now in the US for treatment.
They talked on issues, including the current political situation, ongoing blockades, civil society initiatives and Nagorik Oikya's plans and activities.
Manna, a two-time VP of Dhaka University Central Students Union (Ducsu) in his youth, advised Khoka to capture some DU dormitories to put pressure on the government.
The other call was to an unnamed person purportedly staying in Australia. Manna was asked by the man whether he would like to talk with army officials for a “changeover in the country”.
For both the calls, he used Viber, an application for free calls and messages. It could not be known how and by whom the conversations got leaked.
However, on his Facebook page around 3:30pm yesterday, Manna claimed “there was no hint of conspiracy or provocation” in his conversations.
“In my political life, I have never harboured violence and conspiracy,” he said requesting people to carefully study the conversations.
According to the Facebook post, Manna, while talking to Khoka, had said, “Student movement has to be forged and spread at universities. And there is nothing to do if a few people get killed in attacks by police or criminals. People are already being killed anyway.”
“But,” the status read, “My statements have been explained in a distorted manner as if I want bodies.”
“As I am in politics, I need to talk with different people,” he said, posing a question, “How a conspiracy of army coup or incident like 1/11 can be smelled as no such meeting was held?”