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Complaint filed against Mid-Day, Rajdeep Sardesai, Dhruv Rathee and others seeking police probe for fake news claiming ‘EVM unlocked using OTP on phone’

Advocate Vivekanand Dayanand Gupta informed on X that he has filed the complaint at the Metropolitan Magistrate court in Mumbai seeking directions to police to register an FIR against the newspaper and others for the fake news.

Days after Mid-Day published a sensational report claiming that a relative of newly elected Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Waikar was able to connect to EVMs using his mobile phone, a complaint has been filed against the publication and others who had amplified the allegation. Advocate Vivekanand Dayanand Gupta informed on X that he has filed the complaint at the Metropolitan Magistrate court in Mumbai seeking directions to police to register an FIR against the newspaper and others for the fake news.

The lawyer has named Mid-Day reporter Shirish Vakatania, for writing the report with the false claims. Others named in the complaint for amplifying the report include India Today journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad, Congress social media cell head Supriya Shrinate, pro-AAP YouTuber Dhruv Rathee, Congress leader Saral Patel and one Arpit Sharma.

The application has been filed with the court under section 165(3) of CrPC to direct the police to investigate the matter and submit a report. The plea seeks that police should be directed to probe the matter under section 505 (2) read with sections 34 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code.

The fake report was published by Mid-Day on 16 June, claiming that Mangesh Pandilkar, a relative of newly elected Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Waikar, was able to ‘unlock EVMs’ by generating OTPs using a mobile phone during the counting of votes for general elections on 4th June. The report also claimed that Waikar was trailing initially, but after another person Dinesh Gurav used the same phone to unlock the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System by generating OTP, the Shiv Sena MP started to lead and eventually won the polls by a narrow margin.

OpIndia had explained how the entire report was fake, as EVMs can’t be unlocked using mobile phone as the EVMs are sealed physically. Moreover, the claim of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System was also false because postal ballots are paper ballots, and the postal ballots are counted at the beginning of the counting process.

The fake report was immediately shared by a large number of people from the anti-BJP front who also favour a return of ballot papers in place of more secure and tamper proof EVMs. This included Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Aaditya Thackeray, Rajdeep Sardesai, Supriya Shrinate, Dhruv Rathee, Prashant Bhushan and others.

Later the Election Commission refuted the Mid-Day claims, and explained that a case was registered against two person for unauthorised entry of a phone. A FIR was registered against them only for the presence of the phone, and the FIR didn’t mention anything about unlocking any EVM or Postal Ballot System. The ECI had issued a notice to Mid-Day newspaper for spreading disinformation about the EVM and creating doubts in the Indian Electoral System.

After that, Mid-Day removed the story from its website, and published a clarification saying that its report “inadvertently erroneously mentioned that the accused person used his mobile phone to generate an OTP to unlock EVMs.”

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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