Hours after India Today put its Consulting Editor Rajdeep Sardesai off-air for two weeks over spreading fake news during the Tractor Rally riots, he has reportedly quit the channel. According to sources, Rajdeep Sardesai was found guilty of spreading two major fake news in just one week, after which he was suspended for two weeks by the media house.
Earlier in the day, media reports suggested that he was taken off-air by India Today and also faced one-month salary cut. Reportedly, India Today has taken the unprecedented step to penalise the senior journalist violated social media policies of the media house several times.
Sources claim that termed his suspension and salary cut a big humiliation for him, and he decided to submit his resignation from India Today. However, in the absence of any official confirmation from either India Today or Rajdeep Sardesai, this remains a speculation.
On Republic Day, during the Tractor Rally that went violent, Sardesai had tweeted an image of the protestor Navneet and declared that he was shot at by Delhi Police. He had tweeted, “one person, 45-year-old Navneet killed allegedly in police firing at ITO.” In a bid to pump up emotions, he had added, “Farmers tell me: the ‘sacrifice’ will not go in vain.” He had also tweeted a picture of the deceased’s body covered in the Indian tricolour.
However, Navneet had died after the tractor he was driving to break police barricades turned turtle. He died instantly, as per reports. After it was pointed out to him on Twitter, he had deleted the tweet.
Rajdeep Sardesai did not stop there. Later, when he went live on India Today, he repeated the lie and said that the farmer was shot in the head by police. He claimed that Navneet Singh was driving the tractor and he was “shot in the head” and suffered a bullet injury that resulted in his death.
Earlier on 23rd January, Sardesai had also joined to accuse the President of India of unveiling the wrong portrait of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. After the official Twitter handle of the Rashtrapati Bhavan had posted the image of portrait on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of the freedom fighter, several journalists and opposition leaders had alleged that the portrait was of actor Prosenjit Chatterjee, who had played the role of Bose in a movie. But later it was revealed that the portrait was based on a photograph of Bose, which was supplied by his grand-nephew. Rajdeep Sardesai was one of the journalists to spread the fake news on Twitter, along with others like Barkha Dutt, Sagarika Ghose, Rohini Singh etc.