Coronavirus Outbreak: News portal founder arrested in Coimbatore over ‘false, provocative' reports on govt's COVID-19 relief work

The founder of an English news portal has been arrested here on charges of carrying 'false' and 'provocative' reports against the local administration and government over COVID-19 relief works, police said on Friday.

Press Trust of India April 24, 2020 15:14:08 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: News portal founder arrested in Coimbatore over ‘false, provocative' reports on govt's COVID-19 relief work

Coimbatore: The founder of an English news portal has been arrested here on charges of carrying "false" and "provocative" reports against the local administration and government over COVID-19 relief works, police said on Friday.

Andrew Sam Rajapandian, who runs the 'Simplicity' portal, was arrested on Thursday on a complaint from a city corporation official and produced before a magistrate who remanded him to judicial custody, they said.

Coimbatore CPI-M MP PR Natarajan condemned the arrest of Pandiarajan.

 <span class=Coronavirus Outbreak News portal founder arrested in Coimbatore over false provocative reports on govts COVID19 relief work" width="380" height="285" />

Representational image. AP

Journalist associations of Coimbatore and Tirupur were among those who condemned the arrest, saying it was against freedom of the press.

Police said cases were registered against the portal on Wednesday under Indian Penal Code Sections 189 (Threat of injury to public servant) 505 (i) (statements conducing to public mischief) and Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act on Wednesday.

Earlier, a journalist and a photographer of the portal were questioned for over four hours in connection with the case, police said.

According to the FIR, the portal had carried reports that government healthcare professionals and workers involved in the fight against coronavirus were not given proper food, and employees under Public Distribution System were siphoning off the relief fund meant for the poor.

The portal was also posting these "totally false" reports in various social media, including Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook, against the government which was "struggling to fight" the coronavirus spread.

These reports were "provocative" and can turn the workers against the government and upset the entire PDS activities, it added.

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