On October 26, somebody uploaded the photograph of a young woman in an advertisement and offered her for Rs 2,000. The name and telephone number of a contact person was also given.
Captioned '22Years girl — Kolkata', the classified advertisement said: "I am Soumen Barui i am the ajent of the girl. If u interest enjoying this girl please contract me. please not on fake call."
When Barui was contacted on the telephone number published, he lost his cool initially and said that it was a wrong number. On being told that the caller wasn't interested whether he is actually an 'ajent', he calmed down.
"You don't know how many calls I have received since Sunday. People have been calling up and asking about some girl. Finally, I checked the internet and realized that somebody had played this prank on me. I don't know why somebody would want to cause me such distress. Finally, I lodged a complaint with the Bijpur police station in Kanchrapara. I realized that if I don't do so, I am liable to get into legal trouble. I shall visit the police station on Wednesday again and insist that the authorities try and find out who the prankster is," Barui said.
TOI got in touch with Amarjit Batra, country manager, OLX India, on Tuesday afternoon. He wasn't even aware that something like this has taken place. Keeping the line on hold, he checked the site, and was taken aback by what he discovered.
"We have filters. We have a dedicated team of people who go through advertisements. However, this is a very popular site and sometimes things like these do manage to get through. Thank you for informing us. We shall get this advertisement removed immediately," he said.
True to his word, the advertisement was removed within the next quarter of an hour. However, a check revealed that portals such as OLX are a happy hunting ground for pranksters and mischief-makers. No authentication is required to upload an advertisement and there are no checks.
Batra admitted that there aren't any checks when advertisements are uploaded. "We are a free portal and it is much like the social networking sites that people use. We do go through the advertisements only after they have been uploaded. That is why we don't take any legal responsibility for whatever appears," he added.