Times Group deletes report, apologises to Subramanian Swamy after circulating a misleading quote on Rafale deal

With the Gandhi family training their guns at the Rafale deal between the Modi government and the French government, the deal has taken prominence in media headlines. Yesterday, a Times Group website ‘IndiaTimes’ published an article that claimed BJP politician and legal activist Subramanian Swamy has said that the Rafale deal was corrupt and that had threatened to go to court against the Modi government.

IndiaTimes quoted a PTI story with Swamy’s quote about how no one is buying the planes and that if India doesn’t buy these planes, the aviation company Dassault would wind up.

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However, soon Subramanian Swamy tweeted clarifying that he had issued no such statement yesterday and that he was prepared to take legal action against such mischevious reporting.

Soon thereafter, even PTI issued a statement saying that the agency has not issued any such story quoting Subramanian Swamy.

After the clarifications and the threat of legal action issued by Subramanian Swamy, IndiaTimes updated their story with a disclaimer that the quote was actually issued by Swamy in the year 2015 and that “the story and the quote started circulating again yesterday”.

The story, however, didn’t end there. Swamy was still not backing down and insisted on suing the Times Group.

When a Twitter user plugged the 2015 article, Subramanian Swamy responded with his reasons for issuing this statement back in 2015.

For the uninitiated, Swamy has a colourful list of names that he refers to some politicians with. TDK (tadakka) refers to Sonia Gandhi. He explained that he has protested back in 2015 because he wanted the Modi government to scrap the 126 plane Rafale deal signed by the Congress government which was corrupt. He says that after his protest, the Congress deal was scrapped by the Modi government and new negotiations for the 36 plane deal was started by the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

It turns out that the Modi government has indeed scrapped the deal signed by the Congress government and had renegotiated a new deal with India specific modifications and one where it is reported, the planes are much cheaper with additional features, as compared to the jets that the Congress government had decided to buy.

Soon, IndiaTimes tweeted apologising to Subramanian Swamy and said that they were pulling the story down.

Swamy refused to accept the apology and asserted the Times Group must sack the reporter and Editor responsible for the gaffe.

Not willing to let the matter go, Swamy tweeted in the afternoon that he has called a meeting of his legal eagles in order to decide what further action can be taken against the Times Group.

It is however interesting how a media agency can attempt to pass off an old statement as a current one, without even giving its readers the context it was said in, thereby misleading their readers.

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