Reports of missing journalist Utpal Das being found in Tangail's Mirzapur are false, and the man who called the family with the news is a fraudster, police have said.
On Sunday evening, Utpal's sister Bobita Rani Das received a call telling her the journalist was at a hospital in Mirzapur.
She said the caller was SI Ripon Talukder of the Mirzapur police.
Her cousin Shuvo told the Dhaka Tribune around 7:30pm that they had started heading towards Tangail upon receiving the call.
Members of the media also responded to this information, and calls started pouring in to every police official in the district. Various versions of this information was circulated in the social media.
Local correspondents rushed to the hospitals in Mirzapur.
The Dhaka Tribune called the number Bobita provided and spoke to a man claiming to be SI Ripon Talukder, who spoke confidently, saying police had found Utpal at Mirzapur's Hatubhanga area at 6am Sunday.
Asked if Utpal was injured, he quickly said yes.
The number was subsequently found turned off.
Mirzapur police station Officer-in-Charge AKM Mizanul Haque told the Dhaka Tribune there was no sub-inspector of that name in his station and the number did not belong to any officer in the area.
He said the caller must have been a fraudster trying to deceive the family.
“I called him, and when I told him who I was, he turned off his phone,” he said.
Utpal has been missing since October 10. He works for the Dhaka-based online news portal purbopaschimbd.com.
This correspondent talked to Bobita again, who said 'Ripon' had called several times and said money was needed for her brother's treatment.
“He kept insisting, asking for Tk10,000 and we told him we needed time. Eventually he said, 'don't you even have Tk3-4,000?'
“Then he switched off his phone,” she said.