Many people in collusion with a section of corrupt election commission officials are receiving National Identity Cards (NID) through forgery.
As per the law, there is no scope for a person to get more than one NID.
EC officials said a section of people try to get NID for the second time for various illegal personal gains. This includes taking bank loans through fake information, embezzling property, reducing age to take advantage in government service, and so on.
The EC employees definitely have a hand in the NID forgery. The EC has to find out those employees.Retired brigadier general M Sakhawat Hossain
A section of Ronhingya takes NID through such forgery to go abroad as a citizens of this country.
There are seven steps including fingerprints to get an NID card. Fingerprints and personal information of all voters are kept in the EC server. So if anyone tries to get NID for the second time, it is supposed to be detected instantly.
The election commission is in control of the server. A person has to apply at the thana level office of EC for voter registration. At the office, data entry operators upload registration information on a temporary server.
There are speculations at the EC that it is not possible for the data entry operators alone to commit such a big forgery without the support of the EC officials.
In the case of providing NID to Rohingya, names of a number of EC officials have been mentioned. As the matter is still under investigation, their identity had not been divulged.
EC sources said some 207,000 people have so far tried to get more than one NID since 2009, which has been detected in the EC server. Of them, 927 people with ill motives tried to become double voters concealing their information. Their NIDs have been blocked by the EC. The commission has decided to file cases against them. Cases have already been filed against some of them.
The issue of possessing double NID by one person could be known after the arrest of JKG chairman Sabrina Arif Chowdhury for the coronavirus test forgery in August. The EC filed a case against her and a probe body is working to find those who involved in the forgery.
The names of data entry operators have mainly come in the case of NID forgery. Some 30 data entry operators have been sacked since 2013. Besides, seven technical support men, one messenger and an assistant director have been sacked. All of them are employees of Identification System for Enhancing Access to Service project under the EC. NID registration and distribution are being done under this project.
Police arrested five people in connection with NID forgery in Dhaka on 13 September. Of them, two are data entry operators at a thana level office. They would make NID through forgery for taking bank loans. The big incident of NID forgery was detected in Chattogram last year.
A gang would make NIDs for Rohingyas there. Several employees including three data entry operators were arrested. In Kushtia, a gang bought and sold three pieces of land through forgery of NID of MA Wadud, a resident of NS Road in Kushtia town.
The matter came to light last month. Police arrested seven people in a case filed in connection with the incident. After the detection of various incidents of forgery, the EC issued a circular on 20 September. Concerned officials have been asked to inform EC if there are any complaints against data entry operators.
In Chattogram, a gang has been giving NID to Rohingyas for several years. The gang gave NID to at least 3,800 Rohingyas. A case in connection with this incident has not been yet finished.
The court sources said 15 people were arrested in the case filed over making Rohingyas voters, and 11 of them are EC employees. Five of them have given confessional statements. Names of 35 officials and staff have come up in their confessional statements. Officials concerned said many more officials may be involved in this incident. The
EC is also investigating into the incident.
National Identity Registration Wing (NIRW) director general brigadier general Saidul Islam said the investigation was halted due to the outbreak of coronavirus for a few days.
Those who are involved in the NID forgery would be given exemplary punishment, he said.
The election commission led by ATM Shamsul Huda started making NID first in the country.
Retired brigadier general M Sakhawat Hossain was the member of the commission. Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said the EC employees definitely have a hand in the NID forgery.
The EC has to find out those employees, the former EC commissioner said.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.