A Dhaka court has jailed Helena Jahangir, who was sacked by an Awami League subcommittee last year, for two years over fraud.
In a verdict on Tuesday, Dhaka Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Md Tofazzal Hossain also sentenced four others to two years in prison.
They are Joyjatra Television General Manager Hazera Khatun, Chief News Editor Qamruzzaman Arif, Coordinator Sanaullah Nuri and Staff Reporter Mahfuz Shahriar.
Helena and Hazera were not present during the sentencing, prompting lawyer A Rauf to appeal for more time, but the judge rejected it.
On Aug 2 last year, journalist Abdur Rahman Tuhin filed the case with Pallabi Police Station.
The case said Helena took Tk 54,000 from Rahman, a native of Bhola, to employ him as a local reporter for Joyjatra Television. Rahman worked for several months but did not receive salaries. Joyjatra authorities, on the other hand, took Tk 3,000 from him every month.
At the end of the investigation, the Criminal Investigation Department submitted a chargesheet against Helena and four others on Dec 29 last year.
After the trial began, following the framing of charges, the court received 13 testimonies, according to state lawyer Azad Rahman.
A director of the apex trade body FBCCI and chairperson of Joyjatra TV, Helena also identified herself as the president of the IP TV Owners Association of Bangladesh.
The Awami League’s subcommittee on women’s affairs fired her as a member after her name came up on social media as the president of ‘Bangladesh Awami Chakrijibi League’, a group with no official links to the ruling party.
Helena was arrested at her Gulshan residence on charges of spreading propaganda and misleading information on digital platforms on Jul 29.
Police recovered 19 bottles of foreign liquor, kangaroo skin, deerskin, two mobile phones, 19 cheque books, foreign currency, two walkie-talkies and 456 gambling chips during the raid.
The Rapid Action Battalion also raided the Joyjatra Television office in Mirpur that night. The station was shut down after law enforcers retrieved illegal goods during the drive.
Later, Helena was accused in four cases and remanded in different periods. She secured bail in November 2021.