The editor of Sheershanews.com, an online newspaper, was placed on a two-day remand yesterday, hours after police arrested him on charges of demanding extortion money from a trader.
Mohammad Ekramul Haq, also editor of weekly Sheersha Kagoj, was arrested from his Baro Moghbazar residence in the capital at about 4:15am, said Enamul Haque, officer-in-charge of Kalabagan Police Station.
Law enforcers produced Ekramul before the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate's Court and prayed for his three-day remand.
Police told the court that the editor sent his men to Balaka National Company, a travel agency at Haque Mansion in Panthapath, on July 25 and 26. They threatened to run derogatory reports about agency owner Gias Uddin Talukder on the online newspaper unless they were given Tk 20 lakh.
However, Sheershanews.com in a press release said there is no travel agency by the name of Balaka National Company at Haque Mansion, and it did not even find the existence of the company's main office at Firingibazar in Chittagong.
It claimed some quarters victimised Ekramul for running reports including those on corruption involved in the Gulistan-Jatrabari Flyover and in the communications and the public works ministries.
Gias Uddin filed a case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court against Ekramul on July 28 on charges of demanding extortion money from him.
Meanwhile, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia condemned the arrest of Ekramul and said it proves that the ruling party does not believe in the freedom of the press.
The leader of the opposition demanded Ekramul's unconditional release.