In a major development, security forces in Bangladesh arrested outgoing prime minister Khaleda Zia's son and raided the residence of a number of politicians including that of former premier Sheikh Hasina Wajed as part of an ongoing drive against corruption.
Tarique Rahman, the elder son of Zia and senior joint secretary general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was picked up from his house in Dhaka Cantonment early Thursday morning, police said.
The New Age newspaper, quoting family and political sources close to Rahman, said a contingent of security forces picked up Tarique at around 01.10 am (local time).
Former prime minister Sheikh Hasina's Shudha Sadan residence was searched twice since late Wednesday night apparently in a bid to nab some of her Awami League partymen wanted by authorities, ATN Bangla TV reported early Thursday.
Army-led joint forces in late night drives also detained BNP standing committee member and former health minister Khondokar Mosharraf Hossain, the Chittagong City Mayor and Awami League leader A B M Mohiuddin Chowdhury, former lawmaker of the Jamaat-e-Islami Syed Abdullah Mohammad Taher and Islami Oikya Jot leader Mufti Izharul Islam.
Security forces also raided the office of daily Janakantha newspaper and arrested the publisher and editor Atiqullah Khan Masud. He was however allowed to go by his own car escorted by security vehicles.
The daily's executive editor, Borhan Ahmed, reportedly accompanied his publisher.
Media reports said military personnel also raided residences of the Jatiya Party faction chairman Anwar Hossain Manju and Awami League joint secretary Obaidul Kader. They were not at home.
During the raid at Sudha Sadan, security forces checked the visitors' register and noted the names of those who visited the Awami League chief's residence.
The joint forces also raided the Segun Bagicha residence of Awami League's senior joint secretary Obaidul Kader.
Leader of a faction of Islami Oikyo Jote, Ijaharul Islam, was also arrested last night.
The joint forces also arrested the assistant personal secretary to former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar and one of Babar's cousins.
Security forces had previously detained more than 35 politicians and businessmen for their reported links to crime and corruption since caretaker Fakhruddin Ahmed's government took over on January 12, a day after the President Iajuddin Ahmed declared a state of emergency.