RTI response confirms OpIndia report: ‘Rs 35 lakh spent on Modi’s yoga video’ was fake news

In July 2018, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had started the #HumFitTohIndiaFit campaign. Many celebrities had uploaded their work out videos and challenged others to do the same. Similarly, India’s cricket team captain, Virat Kohli had uploaded his work out video and one of the people he had challenged was Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Prime Minister in response uploaded a short video of him doing yoga in his garden, emphasising the importance of including Yoga in daily life. Following this, a dubious website called IndiaScoops, which had recently surfaced, published an article that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spent Rs. 35 lakh on his #HumFitToIndiaFit challenge.

The unverified article from the dubious source was widely shared among by the opponents of the Prime Minister. Many journalists including Nikhil Waghle and politicians both from the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party also furthered the article.

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We had reported how no credibility can be attached to the page IndiaScoops itself. The page was registered a mere 66 days prior to this “scoop” which they attributed to “sources” within the Prime Minister’s Office. The page also used to be an Arshi Khan (BiggBoss contestant) fan page before it morphed into a page that claims to have highly placed sources in the PMO.

We then found the earliest mention of the website was by a Twitter handle called IndiaScribes.com. We found that the IndiaScribes.com was owned by one Flynn Remedios who has been earlier accused of molestation, cheating and sending outrageous messages to an actress. He was also reported to be Arshi Khan’s publicist, the same Arshi Khan whose fan page was turned into IndiaScoops, the webpage with sources in the PMO and who published the 35 lakh story.

After digging into the highly dubious antecedents of the website that got this “scoop” which was plugged by many journalists and politicians, the news of Prime Minister Modi spending 35 lakhs on the video itself became questionable since apart from the dubious roots of the website itself, the article provided no evidence to back their claims up.

Soon, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore too confirmed that zero expenditure was incurred on the making of the short yoga video that was shared by the Prime Minister.

Now, as reported by MyNation.com, in response to an RTI, the PMO has clarified that no expenditure was incurred on the filming of the video posted by PM Modi.

RTI response accessed by MyNation.com

“No expenditure has been incurred on (the) filming of the video posted by Shri Narendra Modi. The video was filmed at the Prime Minister’s Residence. The videography was done by the PMO cameraman. Nothing has been procured for the video,” the PMO said in reply to an RTI application. The RTI had sought to know the cost of making the video and of giving the contract.

With the official response out, one wonders if the people who furthered an unverified source-based “news” from dubious sources would retract their assertions.

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