Police have arrested Mainul Hosein, a former adviser to the military-controlled caretaker government, in a case over his remarks on TV ‘defaming’ journalist Masuda Bhatti. Mainul was detained from Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD President ASM Abdur Rab’s home in Dhaka’s Uttara on Monday night, police said. The case against Mainul was started in Rangpur and a court there issued a warrant for his arrest, said Mahbub Alam, a joint commissioner at Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Detective Branch.
Mainul was being taken to the DB office, he added.
Mainul is one of the sponsors of the recently formed Jatiya Oikya Front alliance led by Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain.
Besides Rabs JSD, the BNP and the Nagorik Oikya of Mahmudur Rahman Manna are the other parties in the Front.
Mainul, the publisher and editorial board chief of The Daily New Nation, has been facing intense criticism since Oct 16 when he called journalist Masuda Bhatti a woman of loose morals in Ekattor Journal, a talk show aired live on Ekattor TV.
He secured bail from the High Court in three cases against him, including one started by Bhatti, for the comments “defaming the women”.
Police said he was not granted bail in the case started by Mily Maya, an activist of Ain Sohayota Kendra Foundation, in Rangpur earlier in the afternoon.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Arifa Yasmin Mukta took cognisance of the charges against Mainul and ordered his arrest.
Mainuls arrest came hours after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told journalists at a press conference that the law-enforcing agencies will look into the issue created by the “defamation” of their colleague Bhatti.
Later in the evening, the law enforcers swung into action when Mainul went to Rabs home.
Mainuls aide Raju Ahmed received the call from bdnews24.com.
He said Rab was not at home when Mainul went there. Rab arrived after around 15 minutes and police then surrounded the house.
“Mr Rab told police that he (Mainul) will leave with them after taking tea when police said they had a warrant for his arrest. But police were rude and forced him (Mainul) into their car and took him to the DB office,” he said.
Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia had been among a horde of politicians and businessmen when Mainul became an adviser to the 2007-08 caretaker government during emergency.
Those arrested during the military-backed government had allegedly been tortured in custody.
Mainul, a son of The Daily Ittefaq founder-editor Tofazzal Hossain Manik Miah, was in charge of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, among others, during his tenure in the caretaker government.
Mainuls brother Anwar Hossain Manju owns the Ittefaq now. Manju is also the water resources minister in Hasinas cabinet.
The two brothers battle for the ownership of the daily had made headlines for years.
Hasina said at the news conference Mainul was “an agent of the 1971 Pakistani forces” and “no less responsible” for the killing of martyred journalist Serajuddin Hossain.
The Pakistani military took away Serajuddin from his home with the help of Al Badr and Razakar forces when he was the executive editor of The Daily Ittefaq on Dec 10, 1971. He has not been seen since then.
Hasina also alleged Mainul “murdered a person” in The Daily Ittefaq and “tried to frame Mainuls brother over the murder”.