Barrister Mainul Hosein was arrested last night from JSD (Rab) chief ASM Abdur Rab's Uttara residence in a defamation case filed with a Rangpur court.
After arresting Mainul, whose recent comment on a female journalist triggered outrage, officials took him to the Detective Branch office on Mintoo Road in the capital.
"There was an arrest warrant against him in a defamation case filed in Rangpur. He was arrested from ASM Abdur Rab's home in Uttara as per the warrant," Mahbub Alam, joint commissioner of DB, told The Daily Star.
DB officials said he will be produced before a Dhaka court today.
Mainul, a former caretaker government adviser, was involved in the process of forming Jatiya Oikyafront, an alliance of BNP, Gono Forum, JSD (Rab) and Nagorik Oikya, launched on October 13.
He went to Abdur Rab's house at sector-3 of Uttara around 9:30pm. Around 100 policemen, including detectives, cordoned off the house at the same time, claimed Saiful Islam, personal secretary of the JSD (Rab) president.
Rubel, a security guard of the house, told The Daily Star that three plainclothes men had earlier wanted to know whether Mainul was there.
Abdur Rab was not at the house when Mainul arrived. He came a few minutes later while Mainul was waiting at the hall room, added the guard.
As around 50 to 60 DB men entered the house, Rab's wife Tania came down and talked to the officials, according to witnesses.
Mili Maya Begum, wife of Suruj Mia in Rangpur's Mulatol area, filed the case with the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court in the district yesterday afternoon, accusing Mainul of hurling abuse at journalist Masuda Bhatti during a television talk show on October 16 night.
Mainul, also the publisher and editorial board chief of The New Nation newspaper, is now facing at least six cases. He got an ad interim bail on Sunday in two defamation cases filed in Dhaka and Jamalpur.
Masuda Bhatti filed the case in Dhaka with the Court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Muhammad Asaduzzaman Noor.
The other case was filed by Jamalpur Jubo Mohila League Convener Farzana Yasmin Lita with the Court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Soleiman Kabir.
Cases were filed also in Cumilla, Bhola and Brahmanbaria over the same issue.
Besides, an arrest warrant against Mainul was issued in Brahmanbaria yesterday afternoon.
Judge of Senior Judicial Magistrate's Court Farzana Ahmed issued the arrest warrant after the district correspondent of The Daily Observer newspaper, Ayesha Ahmed Liza, filed the defamation case against him.
On Tuesday night, Mainul called Masuda Bhatti a person of “loose character” at the talk show of Ekattor Journal. He was connected through videoconference.
During the discussion, Masuda referred to a video that showed Mainul was addressing a programme of Islami Chhatra Shibir, expressing solidarity with the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami.
She said during the programme: “Many are commenting that you are in the alliance [Jatiya Oikyafront] as a representative of Jamaat-e-Islami… Is this true?”
Later in a statement, Masuda said, “Instead of replying to the question, he made a verbal attack and tried to tarnish my image and dignity.”
Mainul later apologised to Masuda over phone and also issued a statement over this.
However, a legal notice was served on Masuda yesterday, demanding apology in public within 24 hours for her “intentional and defamatory question” to Mainul at the talk show.