Journalist Utpal Das has not been found, police say after report of his sighting

The fake news that Utpal Das has been found, which was fed by a message received by police, has fooled some media, including the disappeared journalist's online portal.

Published : 5 Nov 2017, 03:13 PM
Updated : 5 Nov 2017, 03:56 PM

Several TV stations started running tickets that the journalist, missing for around a month, was found on Sunday evening.

His Purboposhcimbdnews also ran a report saying its senior reporter was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Tangail's Mirzapur. 

Purboposhcimbdnews Editor Khugesta Noor E Naharin Munni told about the sighting of Senior Reporter Utpal around 6pm.

"We've come to know from Motijheel Police Station that Utpal is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Tangail's Mirzapur. I've also informed his family," she said.

"Utpal's younger sister Binita Rani Das told police that she had spoken to Utpal," Khugesta said.

Utpal's father Chittaranjan Das told by telephone that he had heard the news. "I'm on my way home," he said.

Later, Chittaranjan's another son answered the phone and said, "We've only heard the news, but have not communicated with him yet."

Dhaka Metropolitan Deputy Commissioner (Motijheel Zone) Anwar Hossain told around 6:15pm that they received information from a police camp at Mirzapur that a person was found and taken to a local hospital.

"We are sending an officer there. His relatives will identify him," he said.

Mirzapur Police Station OC Mizanur Rahman told around 7:30pm: "We've checked but could not find him in several hospitals. We are checking the other hospitals and clinics."

Minutes later, DMP Deputy Commissioner Anwar said, "The message we had received was maybe a fake one. We will inform you once we find him."

Purboposhcimbdnews later took its report down. The TV stations also said the news was fake.

Purboposhcimbdnews Chief Editor Peer Habibur Rahman told "The Motijheel Police Station sub-inspector investigating Utpal's disappearance called our editor on phone and said he has been found in Mirzapur, was at a hospital.

"The police officer asked us to send someone to identify him. Then we started to take the next steps," he said.

The investigator, SI Golam Rabbani, told he had received a message from an unknown number that claimed Utpal was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Mirzapur.

"I informed the Purboposhcimbdnews editor at once and later contacted Mirzapur police after informing my superior officers," he said.

"Later we were certain that the news was fake," he added.

Utpal went missing after leaving his office in Dhaka's Motijheel on Oct 10.

The reporter from Narsinghdi stays in Fakirapool in the capital.

His family organised a news conference on Oct 26 and demanded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's intervention to find him.

Journalists have also demonstrated demanding that the law enforcers find him quickly.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher