Two Rajasthan scribes booked for reporting Congress MLAs' 'phone tapping' during Pilot-Gehlot power tussle

As per the FIR, Sharat Kumar of Rajasthan Tak and Lokendra Singh, who manages Sachin Pilot's press releases on social media, have been accused of fabricating the news report

Press Trust of India October 07, 2020 23:54:25 IST
Two Rajasthan scribes booked for reporting Congress MLAs' 'phone tapping' during Pilot-Gehlot power tussle

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot and Congress leader Sachin Pilot.

Jaipur: Two journalists have been booked by Jaipur Police for allegedly putting out fake news in August during the power tussle between Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his former deputy Sachin Pilot, police said on Wednesday.

The FIR, lodged with Vidhayakpuri police station, was registered on 1 October against Sharat Kumar of Rajasthan Tak (Aaj Tak) and Lokendra Singh of XYZ news agency. Singh is associated with Pilot and handles his press releases on social media.

Reacting to the FIR, Singh said, "The matter is politically motivated."

In the FIR, Station House Officer (SHO) of special offences and cyber crime-commissionerate, has accused them of fabricating a news report that illegal phone tapping of Congress MLAs and ministers, who were staying in a hotel in Jaisalmer at that time, was being done from a hotel in Mansarover in Jaipur.

During the crisis in July, the Rajasthan Congress shifted the MLAs of the Ashok Gehlot camp, who were confined to a hotel in Jaipur, to Jaisalmer fearing horse-trading ahead of the assembly session in August.

"Misleading, baseless, fake and sensational news was created and circulated on social media and broadcasted on news channel by SharatKumar of Rajasthan Tak (Aaj Tak)," the FIR stated.

The news was run on 7 August.

The case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including section 76 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.

The FIR stated that "misleading information" was being circulated on WhatsApp on 7 August that illegal phone tapping of ministers and MLAs staying at Jaisalmer's Suryagarh Hotel was being done and four jammers were installed in the hotel, and this was being executed from a hotel in Jaipur's Mansarovar area, which involved officers of a private telecom company.

The matter was informed to the SHO of special offences and cyber crime by the duty officer of police control room in Jaipur on 7 August, following which a complaint was registered and probed by the SHO, the FIR stated. After a probe into the complaint, the police lodged the FIR on 1 October.

Investigating Officer Omprakash Matwa was not available for comment.

Targeting the chief minister over the matter, BJP state president Satish Poonia said Gehlot talks big about democracy but is suppressing the media.

The feud between Gehlot and Pilot came out in the open after Pilot along with 18 other MLAs revolted against his leadership in July, which led to a political crisis for nearly a month.

Gehlot and other leaders had blamed the BJP for trying to topple his government.

Pilot was removed from the post of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president and deputy chief minister.

The month-long crisis came to an end in August when Pilot and other MLAs met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi and a committee of three members was set up by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) to look into the grievances.

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