Azad who stuffed 43 ballots in 57 seconds is in police custody

A screen grab from the video shows former BCL leader Azad Hossain stuffing ballots during the Lakshmipur-3 by-pollsFile photo

The police have detained former Chhatra League leader Azad Hossain, who came into limelight after stuffing 43 ballots in 57 seconds. He is now in the custody of Chandraganj police station. Some men identifying themselves as members of the detective branch (DB) of police picked him up on Friday morning, claimed the family members.

Confirming his detention, Chandraganj police station officer-in-charge (OC) Md Tahidul Islam told Prothom Alo, “Azad Hossain is in our custody now. Details regarding this will be provided later.”

The by-polls to Lakshmipur-3 constituency were held on 5 November. A video clip of former Chhatra League leader Azad Hossain stuffing several ballot papers at one of the voting booths went viral on social media. He was seen stuffing ballots one after another wearing a card of the boat symbol in the 57-second video. He stuffed a total of 43 ballots within that time.

It sparked widespread criticism across the country. Later, the Election Commission (EC) later cancelled the issuance of the gazette of election results and announced an investigation into the allegations of irregularities.

The probe committee formed by the EC visited that polling centre and questioned the polling officer, members of law enforcement and the polling agents of the candidate. The committee has been asked to submit the report within the next three working days.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Azad’s brother Alamgir Hossain said, “We have had no contact with Azad since the video went viral. Some men introducing them as DB police picked him up from the home of Chandraganj thana Chhatra League general secretary M Masudur Rahman. There was no trace of him yesterday. We just came to learn today that he is in the custody of Chandraganj police station.”

Azad was the polling agent of the candidate of boat symbol at the Khaguria Primary School centre in Lakshmipur sadar upazila. He was the vice-president of Chandraganj thana Chhatra League. He was expelled from the party on allegation of breaching party decorum by Lakshmipur district Chhatra League.

Earlier, AKM Shahjahan Kamal, MP from the Lakshmipur-3 constituency, passed away on 30 September. The constituency was declared vacant on 3 October. The election schedule for the by-polls was declared on 4 October.