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Fake profiles of Bengal police officers on Facebook; probe finds UP, Bihar, Jharkhand links


KOLKATA: Fake profiles of several senior IPS officers of West Bengal were detected on social media and a preliminary investigation found that these were being operated from different states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, official sources said on Wednesday.

Fake social media accounts of Chandannagar Police Commissioner Humayun Kabir, Raiganj Superintendent of Police Sumit Kumar, Malda SP Alok Rajoria, and Siliguri's East Zone Assistant Commissioner of Police Swapan Sarkar were found, they said.

Besides, a few senior police officers posted in Uttar Dinajpur and south Bengal districts were also found to have been targetted with such profiles, they added.

The fake accounts have the photographs of these officers and those behind such profiles are also sending friend requests to their contacts, the sources said.

"Yes, I was informed by one of my contacts about this new account. I asked him to share the screenshot of the profile. But before we could do anything the profile was deactivated. We have got the URL on the basis of which a probe into the matter has been initiated," Kabir told PTI.

The police commissioner said there must be something "mischievous" behind these accounts.

"We have to find out. I am an open person and have photographs everywhere, including newspapers. It may take some time but we will grab the miscreants," he said.

Rajoria said that police have taken the matter up with Facebook and a probe is underway.

"We have written to the social networking website. We are waiting for their response. Once we get it we will be able to proceed further with the investigation," he said.

Most of these accounts have now been deactivated, the sources said.

After preliminary investigation it was found that these accounts were being operated from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Punjab, a senior officer of the CID's cyber wing said.

It is likely that these fake profiles were being used to spread misleading news or conduct some kind of fraud, he said.

"If you manage to spread false information using profiles of well-known persons, be it an IPS officer, then common people will not doubt its authenticity and keep on forwarding them without thinking twice," the IPS officer said.

"It could have a greater impact, leading to a law and order problem. As we are heading towards assembly elections next year, we have to be cautious and thus we are trying to take all sorts of precautionary measures in this regard," he said.

Though no arrests have been made yet, officers investigating the matter are hopeful of nabbing those behind these profiles soon.