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Dhaka Tribune

RAB arrests 'missing' PhD scholar over fake online newsportals

Enamul operated 22 fake sites of online newsportals of the country

Update : 24 Nov 2018, 09:48 PM

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested a "missing" PhD researcher for allegedly administering 22 fake online newsportal sites and spreading anti-government propaganda.

RAB 2 Commander Mohiuddin Faruqi told the Dhaka Tribune that Enamul Haque Moni, 31, was arrested around 7am on Saturday from the Airport Railway Station in Dhaka.

A laptop and a cell phone were recovered from him. 

Faruqi stated that RAB did not know about the disappearance. "We arrested Enamul on Saturday morning. From his train ticket, it was known that he came to Dhaka from Ishwardi." 

Enamul operated 22 fake sites of online newsportals of the country. Mostly, he copied exact news articles and sometimes added anti-government statements, he added.

"Enamul, a central committee member of Islami Chhatra Shibir, used to clone websites of different news agencies including daily the Prothom Alo, Bangla Tribune and BBC Bangla and distort the contents.

"He used to run anti-government campaign on the sites and earn money from these,” said RAB 2 Commander Mohiuddin Faruqi.

The RAB official said a case has been filed with Dhaka Railway police station in Kamalapur under the Digital Security Act.

Enamul's disappearance

Enamul's family, however claimed, they did not hear from him since he left a friend's house in Ashkona for the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, on Wednesday night (November 21). He was supposed to fly to South Korea on Thursday at around 1am, on a Cathay Pacific flight.

Dakshin Khan police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Tapan Chandra Saha said, in the incident of Enamul's disappearance, a general diary (GD) was filed by the family at the police station on Thursday (November 22). 

On the other hand, families and relatives said that Enamul completed his higher education from Bangladesh Agriculture University of Mymensingh and was pursuing PhD in the South Korean Kyungpook National University (KNU) on a scholarship. 

After the disappearance, a call was made to the family from Enamul's cell phone on Thursday. Identifying himself as a "kidnapper," the person demanded one and half lakh at 6am on Friday. 

The family claimed that had wired one lakh taka to the alleged abductors as instructed, but did not hear from them again.

Fake news

Since November 14, clones of several popular news websites in Bangladesh have appeared, disseminating outright false political news.

The Bangla Tribune, the Prothom Alo, and BBC Bangla have all been duplicated. Meanwhile the state news agency, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), appears to have been hacked.

The Bangla Tribune, a sister concern of the Dhaka Tribune, ran an article alerting readers about its clone “banglatriibune.com” on November 14.

On the night of November 16, Prothom Alo decried its own clone “prothomaalo.com.” 

On Facebook, screenshots of a BBC Bangla clone from the URL “bbc-bangla.com” soon started making the rounds.

The Bangla Tribune received several complaints which led to the discovery of the clone. Editor Zulfiqer Russell said a complaint has been filed to Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission and another with the police.

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