There are at least 46 fake national identity (NID) cards on the server of the Bangladesh Election Commission (EC), the investigation team digging into a Rohingya woman being issued an NID card has found.
Neither the EC officials nor the police in Chattogram could so far identify the people involved. They say the server is supposed to be highly secured and it looks like it could only be done by an insider.
An outsider doing so would mean the situation is graver and the security of the EC computers have been compromised, officials said.
The team found the information of those fake NID cards on the server while investigating how a Bangladeshi NID card was issued to a Rohingya woman, who took shelter in Bangladesh after fleeing military atrocities in Myamanr's Rakhine state.
Each of the computers at the EC has separate IP (internet protocol) address. No one can upload information on the EC server without knowing the number. The EC officials and employees are entrusted with the task only, the officials further said.
That is why it is not possible to upload fake information for the NIDs without the involvement of EC insiders, they added.
The information of the bearers of those 46 NIDs are not available on paper, the EC and police officials said.
A Rohingya woman, Ramjan Bibi, went to take her NID card issued in the name of ‘Lucky’ at Chattogram divisional election office on 18 August.
Being suspicious of the way she spoke, the Chattogram divisional election officials contacted Hathazari upazila election office. The Hathazari office said they did not register Lucky as a voter or issued an NID card in her name.
Nothing is available on paper at Hathazari upazila election office although Lucky’s information are available on the EC server.
Hathazari upazila election official Md Ariful Islam filed a lawsuit with Kotwali police station in this connection.
Following the lawsuit, EC offices in Dhaka and Chattogram constituted two investigation committees. Kotwali police station also started an investigation.
“The work to identify the gang involved with the forgery is underway,” said Kotwali police station inspector (investigation) Md Kamruzzaman. “Yesterday (Monday) we’ve brought the detained Rohigya woman’s husband Najir Ahmed to the police station for quizzing.”
A two-member investigation committee, headed by Chattogram Kotwali Thana election official Mohammad Kamrul Alam is also working on the matter. Another member of the committee is Pahartali Thana election official MK Ahmed.
Mohammad Kamrul Alam talked to Prothom Alo at his office on Monday. He said nothing is there on paper though every piece of information necessary for those NIDs is there on the EC server. Those fake NIDs are also arbitrarily serialised. But the original voters of an area will have serialised NIDs.
Citing an example, Kamrul Alam said, one of the newly identified fake NIDs showed the voter number of Md Sharif from Chiringa in Chakaria of Cox’s Bazar is 4186357. The immediate next number is supposed to be 4186358. But instead the number is of Md Ayaz from Chhoto Hatia in Satkania, Cox’s Bazar. The next one is of Azim Ullah from Sabrang in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar.
Chattogram district election official M Munir Hossain Khan on Monday said that the two-member committee from Dhaka likely to visit Chattogram on Thursday to check how fake NIDs are being shown on EC server.
“There could be more fake NIDs except the 46 identified ones. The Rohingyas might have got it done through a well-organised gang,” he said.
*The report, published in print edition or Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Shameem Reza