A man poses with a smartphone in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustration.(Reuters File Photo)
A man poses with a smartphone in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustration.(Reuters File Photo)

Four held for spreading fake message on virus outbreak in Kolkata

According to a statement issued by the CID late on Saturday night, the police on Friday evening came across a message being circulated about the outbreak of the virus in the state claiming the carriers are fish above one kg in weight.
By HT Correspondent | Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON SEP 09, 2018 06:58 PM IST

The criminal Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal Police on Saturday night arrested three members of a WhatsApp group and one more person for spreading a fake message on outbreak of “Morphine Virus” in the state, police said.

According to a statement issued by the CID late on Saturday night, the police on Friday evening came across a message being circulated about the outbreak of the virus in the state claiming the carriers are fish above one kg in weight.

After initial probe when it was noticed that the message originated from Bongaon sub- division in North 24 Parganas district, a joint investigation team of CID and district police started a probe and traced the message to a WhatsApp group “Bangaon Local”, which was responsible for spreading the fake message.

The three group administrators Amit Dutta, Avi Kundu and Abrajit Roy were arrested on Saturday night. Another member of the group, Sanjib Biswas, was also arrested for forwarding the fake message to more than 200 WhatsApp users.

According to the CID statement, the fake message was attributed to West Bengal government and to make it look genuine quotes attributed to some doctors were also falsely incorporated.

The doctors quoted in the fake message, a copy of which is with HT, were Bangaon-based Dr Davis D’souza and Dr Asim Kumbhakar, who is based out of Durgapur, the industrial city in West Burdwan district, who himself became a victim of this virus

Quoting Dr D’souza, the fake message said that the sources of this deadly “Morphine Virus” are fishes in Ichamati river and the virus affects the kidneys severely. As per the message, D’souza also cautioned that no treatment for this virus has been detected as yet and hence people should refrain from consuming fishes weighing over one kg for the time being.

In June this year, Kolkata Police had summoned Sanjay Dixit, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Rajasthan cadre, in connection with the circulation of a fake West Bengal government notification about extended Eid holiday.

Kolkata Police then filed an FIR against Dixit, an additional chief secretary with Rajasthan government, at the cyber police station after the fake notification went viral on social media. Few people from Kolkata who had shared the post without verifying were also questioned.

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