Investigators have brought charges against photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol in another case filed under the Digital Security Act stating that his purpose was to deteriorate law and order through aggressive intimidation and posting defamatory photos and writings on Facebook.
Among the 32 accused named in the first information report (FIR) of the case, police found evidence only against Kajol.
Bangla daily Manabzamin Editor-in-Chief Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, its staff reporter Al Amin, and 29 others were not named in the charge sheet of the case, filed by ruling Awami League lawmaker (Magura-1) Saifuzzaman Shikhor, as the investigators did not find any evidence against them, according to the police probe report.
After nearly a year-long probe, Sub-Inspector Mohammad Russell Mollah of the Detective Branch of police, the investigation officer, filed the charge sheet with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka on April 8.
This was the third charge sheet filed against the photojournalist, accused in three DSA cases filed with Kamrangirchar, Hazaribagh, and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police stations. All the cases were lodged by members of Awami League and Jubo Mahila League.
Lawmaker Shikhor had filed the case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station on March 9 last year over publishing "false news and circulating it on social media".
The charge sheet stated that Kajol posted defamatory, objectionable and indecent writings on his Facebook wall against several leaders and activists of Awami League and Jubo Mahila League.
According to the charge sheet, the Manabzamin on March 2 last year ran a report under the headline "Papia names 30 including bureaucrats, MPs and businessmen". The report was on Jubo Mahila League's Narsingdi district general secretary Shamima Nur Papia who was arrested by Rapid Action Battalion over her involvement in different crimes.
After the publication of the report, writings were posted on Facebook from various IDs. The lawmaker filed the case after scrutinising those posts.
The investigation officer did not include the names of Matiur and other accused in the charge sheet because although the report referred to an MP from Magura, it did not name the lawmaker or the constituency.
"Matiur Rahman Chowdhury gave the approval for publishing the report written by Al Amin in good faith. In fact, the complainant could not produce sufficient evidence against the duo," said the charge sheet.
It also stated that police appealed to the court repeatedly to deny bail to Kajol to keep him away from his Facebook account. "We had taken control of the accused's Facebook profile and changed its password. We appealed to the court to ensure that Kajol does not get out of jail on bail, avail a new phone number, and take control of his account again."
Usmin Ara Bally and Sumaiya Chowdhury Bonya, members of the central committee of Jubo Mahila League had filed the two other cases with Hazaribagh and Kamrangirchar police stations under the DSA on March 10 and 11 last year.
The charge sheets in the two cases were submitted to the court on February 4 and March 14. The cases are now pending trial with the Cyber Tribunal of Dhaka.
Journalist Kajol went missing on March 10 last year. The Border Guard Bangladesh found him roaming around the Benapole border area on May 3 and detained him. He was sent to jail by a Jashore court the same day under Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
Later, he was shown arrested in the three cases filed under the DSA.
The lower court concerned kept denying him bail for seven months until the High Court on November 24 granted him bail in one of the three DSA cases. It also ordered the investigation officers and the Cyber Tribunal to submit reports in two other cases.
The HC on December 17 granted him bail in two other cases after Kajol's lawyer argued that probes had to be completed within 75 days of filing of the cases, and the investigators failed to do so.
The photojournalist walked out of jail on bail on December 25.