The Wire, Senior Editors Booked For ‘Fake News’ Against BJP’s Malviya

New Delhi | Updated: 29 October, 2022 10:05 pm IST

An FIR has been registered by the Delhi Police Crime Branch against digital news platform The Wire for allegedly publishing fake news against BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya.

The case has been registered based on a complaint filed by the BJP leader, officials said.

Confirming the development, a senior police officer told The New Indian that The Wire’s co-founders Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, MK Venu and deputy editor & executive news producer Jahnavi Sen have been named in the FIR.

The journalists have been charged with sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery), 469 (forgery to harm reputation), 471 (fraudulently using document), 500 r/w (punishment for defamation), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code at the Delhi Police Crime Branch.

A copy of the complaint filed by Malviya.

Earlier in the day, Malviya sent a written complaint to the police against The Wire and its senior editors on charges of defamation and cheating for its reportage alleging his role in the removal of Instagram posts critical of the party.

In the letter to the Delhi special commissioner of police (crime), Malviya alleged that the online news organisation published reports based on forged documents with the intention to harm his reputation. He had said the company has “forged documents with a view to malign and tarnish his reputation”.

Earlier this month, The Wire published two sensational reports, claiming that Malviya enjoyed XCheck privilege which lets him report any post on Instagram, the photo-sharing platform owned by Meta. The reports claimed that the posts flagged by him were destined to be removed from the platform without any review.

Apart from The Wire, the complaint also lists its editors Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, MK Venu and deputy editor and executive news producer Jahnavi Sen under sections 420, 468, 469, 471,50 read with 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

It also seeks action against Foundation for Independent Journalism.

Earlier this week, Malviya announced filing civil and criminal proceedings against the news website.

“After consultation with my lawyers and seeking their advice, I have decided to file criminal and civil proceedings against ‘The Wire.’ Not only will I be setting the criminal process in motion but I will also sue them in a civil court seeking damages as they forged documents with a view to malign and tarnish my reputation,” Amit Malviya said in a statement on October 27.

The Wire came under severe criticism as experts raised multiple questions related to the authenticity and source of its reports, forcing it to halt its series on the Meta news stories.

Later, the website announced to set up an internal audit panel and issued an apology to its readers, admitting that its reports did not go through multiple editing checks and verification of the documents it claimed to have received from a source in Meta.

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