A Chattogram tribunal has granted permanent bail to journalist Fazle Elahi in a case filed under the Digital Security Act (DSA).
Judge Mohammad Zahirul Kabir of Chattogram Cyber Tribunal gave the order on Tuesday, said his lawyer Ibrahim Hossain Babul.
Babul told The Business Standard, "Fazle Elahi is not only a journalist but also a solicitor in training. He has an exam on 16 June and the tribunal has granted bail to Elahi till the next hearing."
On 8 June, Rangamati Senior Judicial Magistrate Fatema Begum Mukta granted interim bail to Elahi on condition that he appear before the Chattogram Cyber Tribunal within seven days.
Former reserved seat lawmaker from Rangamati and Bangladesh Mohila Awami League leader Firoza Begum Chinu's daughter, Naznin Anwar Nipun, brought charges against Elahi for a report published in Pahar24.com regarding DC park irregularities.
Fazle Elahi is editor of the local newspaper Daily Parbatya Chattogram and the online portal Pahar24.com.
Police arrested Elahi from his ADC Hill residence in Rangamati on 7 June after the Chattogram Cyber Tribunal issued an arrest warrant for him in the case.
According to sources, in 2018, Nipun, the eldest daughter of Chinu, used her mother's political influence to occupy the park adjacent to the Rangamati Deputy Commissioner's (DC) Bungalow.
She, however, did not lease the park directly from the district administration but through a man named Mohammad Hossain. The tenure of the lease was two years, with an annual rent of Tk36,000.
After grabbing the park, Nipun set up a restaurant there called "Pirates". Apart from food, drugs and liquor were also sold there, according to allegations of locals.
Nipun violated almost all the terms of the lease contract, according to two separate reports of the district administration and the special branch of Police.
When the district administration served an eviction notice to Nipun after the contract expired, she lodged multiple cases against the Rangamati deputy commissioner.
On 3 December 2020, Pahar24.com, the news portal run by Elahi, published a story on how Nipun and her mother, violating rules, used their political power to set up the Pirates restaurant.
Contacted, former Rangamati DC, now joint secretary at the Food Ministry, AKM Mamunur Rashid, said, "They [Chinu and her daughter] wanted to illegally occupy the park's land."
"The case has been filed against Elahi for writing about their irregularities. They even filed four cases against me," he added.
Nipun later filed the DSA case against Elahi.