The Indian media today broke what seemed to be a sensational story — two days after Ajit Pawar had tied up with the BJP in Maharashtra, 9 cases against him had been supposedly closed by the Anti Corruption Bureau.
The move smacked of a political quid pro quo, and commentators didn’t lose any time in hitting the BJP. Rajdeep Sardesai, without bothering to verify facts, tweeted that the timing was “suspicious”, and even said “gol maal hai bhai sab gol maal hai. (Something is fishy)”
Political analyst Yogendra Yadav said that Pawar was being rewarded for his “sacrifice” in ditching the NCP and joining the BJP.
The news was also shared by Aam Aadmi Party senior leadership.
Journalist Swati Chaturvedi said that the move meant that India had turned into a banana republic.
The “news” was also shared by Dhruv Rathee, and it spread like wildfire among his millions of followers.
However, the entire outrage was based on a lie, because Ajit Pawar hadn’t even been named in any of the cases that were closed by the Anti Corruption Bureau. Journalists who had “broken” this news quickly added the clarifications.
And ANI also quoted that ACB DG Parambir Singh has saying that none of the cases that had been closed were related to Ajit Pawar.
But even as the issue has been clarified, senior journalists, opposition politicans, and political commentators lost no time in bashing the BJP government. The news, by this time, has spread to Facebook pages, and on WhatsApp groups, where it’s being shared as fact. Will India’s prominent journalists and commentators issue clarifications about the fake news that they’ve spread?