Journalist arrested in Bangladesh for 'false' reporting on voting irregularities

Dhaka, BangladeshUpdated: Jan 02, 2019, 02:35 PM IST

Representative Image. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

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Hedait Hossain Molla reported that in Khulna 1 constituency, 22,419 more ballots were cast than the number of registered voters.

A journalist working with a prominent media house in Bangladesh was arrested for allegedly publishing "false" information about voting irregularities in the just-concluded parliamentary elections, according to a media report.

Hedait Hossain Molla, associated with Bangla Tribune and Probaho, reported that in Khulna 1 constituency, 22,419 more ballots were cast than the number of registered voters, the Dhaka Tribune quoted the police as saying.

He was arrested on Tuesday in Khulna under the Digital Security Act following an FIR by Khulna's Assistant Returning Officer Debashish Chowdhury, senior police officer Mahbubur Rahman said.

The FIR also named Rashedul Islam, another journalist associated with local daily Manabzamin. He was yet to be arrested. 

"Initial investigations suggest that they were based on false information," Inspector Sarkar Ibrahim Sohel, who is in charge of the investigation, said.

He said that the Election Commission was informed before the case was filed. 

The arrest of the journalist comes two days after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League and its allies won the general elections, bagging 288 of the total 299 seats which went to the polls. 

The jailed ex-premier Khalida Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which won five seats in the 300-member Parliament, has rejected the poll outcome as "farcical" and demanded a fresh election.

The election was marred by violence, in which 17 people died. The opposition BNP rejected the poll outcome as "farcical" and rigged and demanded a fresh election, amid allegations of intimidation.

The Election Commission (EC) ruled out holding fresh polls. 

The opposition Jatiya Oikya Front - National Unity Front (NUF) - comprising the BNP and some smaller parties, criticised the EC and accused its chief of being biased.