Helena placed on remand in case under DSA
Helena Jahangir, who was recently sacked as member of an Awami League subcommittee, was "spreading propaganda and misleading information" on digital platforms to defame important personalities and create panic and confusion in the public mind, Rab said yesterday.
The elite force brought the allegations against Helena at a press briefing hours after arresting her from her Gulshan home on Thursday night.
The 49-year-old businesswoman recently drew criticism from different quarters after announcing the launch of "Bangladesh Awami Chakrijibi League".
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court last night placed Helena on three-day remand in connection with a case filed with Gulshan Police Station under the Digital Security Act.
Metropolitan Magistrate Rajesh Chowdhury passed the order after Sheikh Shahanur Rahman, inspector (operation) of Gulshan Police Station and also the investigating officer of the case, produced her before it seeking five-day remand of the arrestee.
Addressing the briefing at Rab headquarters in the capital, Rab Director (Legal and Media Wing) Commander Khandaker Al Moin said filing of five cases against Helena was under process.
The Rab seized illegal foreign liquor, one kangaroo hide, one deer hide, satellite TV equipment and walkie-talkie sets during the raid at Helena's home, he said.
It also seized two cellphones, 19 cheque books, foreign currency and gambling (casino) materials.
Apart from DSA, cases will be filed against the arrestee under the Narcotics Control Act, Special Powers Act, Wildlife Conservation Act and Telecommunications Act, said Rab.
The Rab director said they raidedJoyJatraIPTV station, owned by Helena, in the capital's Mirpur around 2:00am yesterday. The Rab found illegal satellite TV equipment though she was running the channel as an IPTV, he added.
Officials from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission accompanied Rab during the raid.
"Helena Jahangir admitted during primary interrogation that she deliberately defamed important personalities of the state using the social media," Khandaker Al Moin told the press briefing.
He said she extorted amounts ranging between Tk 20,000 and Tk 1 lakh in the name of appointing district representatives for the IPTV channel.
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud yesterday said action would be taken soon against the unregulated IPTV channels, according to a ministry press release.
The Awami League joint general secretary said, "Some IPTVs are often involved in spreading rumors and providing false information."
Before getting approval, some people opened offices like television channels, and appointed district representatives. These issues need to be brought under regulation, he added.
After announcing the formation of "Awami Chakrijibi League" on Facebook, Helena declared that the organisation would pick presidents and general secretaries for its units at home (districts, upazilas) and abroad.
The Facebook post went viral.
Helena, the founder and CEO of JayJatra IPTV, became a member of the AL sub-committee on women affairs on January 18, said sources in the ruling party.
Earlier, she had become a member of the advisory council of Cumilla (north) unit of the AL.
On July 25, Meher Afroz Chumki, AL women affairs secretary, issued a press release stating that Helena was fired from the AL sub-committee for "breaching party polices" as her name surfaced on the social media as the president of "Awami Chakrijibi League".
The Rab said if any victim of extortion by her files any case, the elite force will take legal action.
A Rab press release yesterday said Helena used to use JoyJatra IPTV to get publicity as "Mother Teresa", "Pallee Mata", and "Probashi Mata". An organised gang ran the publicity.
The arrestee used to collect funds from local and foreign institutions and individuals for her JoyJatra Foundation. Helena spent the money largely for her own publicity. She is a member of 12 clubs,the release added.
Producing Helena before the Dhaka court, the IO of the DSA case yesterday said the accused through her personal Facebook account uploaded objectionable posts against AL leaders and that's why she should be remanded to gather vital evidence.
Defence lawyers submitted a petition seeking bail of the accused and cancellation of the remand prayer.
Claiming herself innocent, Helena told the court that the charges brought against her were "false and fabricated" and she was implicated in the case "as part of a conspiracy to harass her".
The magistrate later turned down the defence's plea and placed the accused on three-day remand.