Police given major role in scrutiny

Bangladesh on 14 April 2015
Location : Bangladesh | Source : Dhaka Tribune; Image Source: Creative Commons

Police yesterday said they would send the details of criminal records of all the mayor and councillor aspirants of the upcoming Dhaka city polls to the Election Commission.

At a press briefing last evening in the DMP media office, Detective Branch (DB) of police chief Monirul Islam said: “The EC wanted to know if there is any criminal record against any of those who had submitted nomination papers for the elections. We will send those details to the EC by tonight [last night].

“However, we will need further investigation to know if any of the candidates have any case or complaint filed outside their electoral areas,” Monirul, also a joint commissioner of the DMP, told reporters.

The EC will scrutinise the nomination papers today and tomorrow. From today, representatives of police will be present at the election offices during scrutiny.

A senior DMP official told the Dhaka Tribune that during every election – both national and local, the EC holds meeting before scrutinising the nomination papers.

“But this is the first time in history that the law enforcement agency is being involved at such a massive level with the scrutiny process,” the official said.

The highlights of the long list of information that the EC has sought from the DMP includes number of criminal cases, type of crimes committed, and number of licensed and illegal arms in possessions. The EC also wanted to know if any of the nomination seekers are now underground or in jail.

Among the heavyweight aspirants, BNP leaders Mirza Abbas and Abdus Salam – just like many party colleagues – are now underground to avoid arrest. Their nomination papers were collected and submitted by representatives on their behalf.

Another BNP leader Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, a mayor aspirant for Dhaka south, is now serving life term in jail in the BDR carnage case.

DB boss Monirul said the EC has all the rights to make any decision under the election code of conduct in case an aspirant has any of the issues mentioned above.

If someone has a case but is out without bail then police will arrest him or her no matter how big a leader they are. Police will also keep those out on bail under close surveillance, Monirul said.

Although Monirul refused to say exactly how many names are there in their list, he said: “Most mayor and councillor aspirants have 30-40 cases against them...It is entirely up to the EC whether they will allow the candidates in hiding. The police have nothing to do in this regard.”

Asked whether they would launch any special drive before the polls, the DB boss only said: “A drive is already going on.”

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Shah Newaz yesterday said that police do not need to seek the EC’s permission in case they want to arrest someone. He was talking to reporters at the EC office in the city’s Agargaon.

Asked whether aspirants accused in cases would be allowed to contest the polls, he said the commission has specific rules about who can take part and how they campaign.

He also said that the current commission has already successfully organised six free and fair city polls.

Asked what would happen to the ward councillor aspirants who failed to file their papers on time on Sunday, Shah Newaz
said there was no scope for considering their cases. 


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