Police have detained BNP leader Gayeshwar Chandra Roy in Dhaka’s Gulshan.
Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said the member of the party’s policymaking body National Standing Committee was detained in front of Police Plaza around 10pm on Tuesday.
Rizvi said a police vehicle stopped Gayeshwar’s car and detained him when he was returning home after a meeting at party chief Khaleda Zia’s office in Gulshan.
Another BNP leader Abdus Salam Azad, an assistant organising secretary of the party, was also in the car, but police did not detain him, he said.
Gayeshwar’s mobile phone was unreachable after the incident while no police officer had immediately agreed to comment on the claim of Gayeshwar’s detention.
Deputy Police Commissioner Masudur Rahman, just before midnight, admitted Gayeshwar has been detained. He did not specify the charges against the BNP leader.
Police officials said Gayeshwar would be shown arrested in two cases police were initiating over the attack on the law enforcers in High Court area earlier in the day.
At an emergency press briefing at Khaleda’s office at midnight, Rizvi said the people will burst into agitations if such arrests continue.
“Mr Gayeshwar has been arrested. We’ve received news just now that a search operation is under way at Swechchhasebak Dal President Shafiul Bari Babu’s home,” Rizvi said.
“The government is implementing its blueprint. What message are you trying to get across through this arrest? You think everything will happen as per your wish, but that will not happen,” he added.
Gayeshwar’s daughter Aparna Roy, who is an assistant secretary of the party, also visited Khaleda’s office at the time and met Rizvi.
Gayeshwar’s detention came hours after the party activists attacked police and snatched away two comrades from their custody near the High Court when Khaleda appeared in a special court for the hearing of a graft case in Bakshibazar.
He had called on the BNP activists to protest against the trial of Khaleda after the court set February 8 for the delivery of the verdict in another corruption case against the former prime minister.
He had threatened to topple the government to free Khaleda in case she was convicted ‘wrongly’.
“Put Khaleda Zia in jail if you (government) wish. But if you think that we will cry, you are wrong,” Gayeshwar told a discussion on Sunday, reports bdnews24.
“We will unseat you before freeing Khaleda Zia. Once the government is toppled, Khaleda Zia will be free. It will be a freedom of the people of Bangladesh,” he added.
Khaleda and five others accused in the case face maximum life sentence if convicted, and in that case, she will lose the eligibility to run in the next general elections.
The BNP alleges the trial of Khaleda is part of a conspiracy to keep the party out of the polls, an allegation the ruling Awami League denies, saying the courts are acting independently in Bangladesh now.