Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami was finally arrested last night on graft charges.
As police went to make the arrest, several hundred Jamaat leaders and workers gathered around his Maghbazar residence and staged fierce demonstrations amid heavy downpour.
When the former industries minister was brought out of his flat at about 11:15pm, they blocked the way.
Police managed to have Nizami on board a van but struggled to make way due to the barricades put up by Jamaat activists.
Some of them even jumped on the police van.
At one stage, Jamaat leaders asked the demonstrators to calm down and only then the police could move along the road to the Cantonment Police Station.
A procession of Jamaat supporters marched alongside the police convoy up to Malibagh rail crossing.
Party insiders said the showdown was planned immediately after they were sure that Nizami was to be detained.
Before the arrest, front-ranking Jamaat leaders had a meeting to decide the party’s next course of action.
Jamaat’s Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Assistance Secretary General Mohammad Kamaruzzaman were present among others.
Four platoons of police were deployed in and around Nizami’s residence but they seemed helpless when Jamaat activists blocked their ways. Police were only trying to make their way by blowing whistle.
While being taken away, the Jamaat ameer kept protesting his innocence. Addressing the reporters and others present there, he said, “I have been implicated in the graft case illegally.”
He asked the party leaders to keep patience.
Earlier, he bade farewell to his wife, daughter and son.
Mojaheed quoted Nizami as saying, “The clouds will clear and the people’s rule will be restored.”
Meanwhile, senior Nayeb-e-Ameer Abul Kalam Muhammad Yousuf has been appointed acting ameer.
RAID FOR ANWAR AND OTHERS
A police team raided the New Elephant Road residence of former agriculture minister and BNP leader MK Anwar but did not find him there.
Gulshan police said although they knew that former finance minister M Saifur Rahman is now in abroad and former commerce minister Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury is hiding in abroad, they went to their houses in Gulshan just for formality.
A Dhaka court issued arrest warrants on May 15 against 12 "absconding" accused in the Gatco case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
A team led by Assistant Commissioner of Ramna Zone of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Hamida Akhter went to Anwar’s residence on the eighth floor of Sheltech Sierra Apartment at 9:50pm with the arrest warrant.
The family members told the police that he had not returned home for the last four days. The police, however, searched the rooms of the apartment.
"We went to the house with the arrest warrant but the family members told us that he [Anwar] did not return home," Hamida Akhter told reporters after coming out of the apartment at 10:35pm.
Abdul Awal, caretaker of the apartment, told reporters that the police also searched the rooftop and lift rooms for Anwar.
Gulshan police also raided the Gulshan residence of Gatco Director AKM Musa Kajol but did not find him there.
Meanwhile, Dhanmondi police raided the houses of former shipping secretary Zulfikar Haider Chowdhury and former member of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) AK Rashid Uddin Ahmed in Dhanmondi.
Officer-in-Charge of Dhanmondi Police Station Monwar Hossain said, "We raided the residences of both the accused but did not find them in their houses."
He said neighbours told them that Zulfikar had not returned to his Dhanmondi-27 residence since the charge was pressed against him. He also said Rashid Uddin rented out his house on Road-12 in Dhanmondi in January and had since shifted to somewhere else along with his family.
A police raid to arrest another Gatco Director Shahjahan M Hasib also brought no result as Hasib was not in the house while Khilgaon police said a team went to raid the house of Gatco Director Ehsan Yusuf.
Another police team also raided the Banani DOHS residence of the late BNP leader Col (retd) Akbar Hossain’s wife Jahanara Ansar last night. The police said locals told them that the house has remained under lock and key for the last one month.