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Law

Court Orders FIR Against Sambit Patra for Sharing 'Doctored' Clip of Arvind Kejriwal

The court also questioned the Delhi Police for not properly investigating the doctored video or the circumstances under which Patra shared it.

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New Delhi: A court has ordered the police to register an FIR against Bharatiya Janata Party national spokesperson Sambit Patra for sharing a ‘doctored’ video of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter.

In the clip Patra shares, it appears as though Kejriwal is supporting the Union government’s contentious farm laws, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now said will be repealed. Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi Marlena had filed a complaint on this, saying Patra was trying to instigate farmers against Kejriwal.

The video had earlier been marked as ‘manipulated media’ by Twitter.

The court noted that on watching the full over-40-minute video, it can be seen that Kejriwal is responding to a journalist’s question by quoting what some BJP leaders have said about the farm laws. However, Patra shared just an 18-second clip that was “doctored in such a way to give them a colour as if he was speaking in support of the farm laws”, the court said, according to Bar and Bench.

“The fact that the impugned video was published on the twitter handle of the proposed accused with the caption “teeno farm bills ke laabh ginate hue… Sir jee”, prima facie proves that same was circulated on twitter with no intention but to cause the protesting farmers to believe that Mr. Kejriwal is supporting the farm laws, which may have perpetuated the state of outrage with the protesting farmers and may have resulted in rioting like situation across the nation,” the order stated.

A Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) study was conducted on the clip and presented to the court. “The above-mentioned findings in the FSL report clearly reflects that the impugned video is opined to have been edited/altered. Therefore, the fact that the impugned video clip was a doctored electronic record stands prima facie proved,” the bench of metropolitan magistrate Rishabh Kumar said.

The court also questioned the Delhi Police for not properly investigating the doctored video or the circumstances under which Patra shared it.

“Besides, the police has also not conducted any probe to find out whether the impugned video clip was already available in public domain by associating twitter during the inquiry, so as to rule out the fabrication/ alteration of the same at the behest of proposed accused. A thorough investigation is required to be conducted on the above mentioned aspects considering the seriousness of the allegations and accordingly, this court is of the considered view that the prayer made by the complainant deserves to be accepted and the present application deserves to be allowed,” the court said.