Delhi Court Orders FIR Against Sambit Patra for Sharing ‘Doctored’ Video of Arvind Kejriwal

For sharing a ‘doctored’ video clip of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Twitter, a court in the national capital has ordered the police to register an FIR against BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra.

In the video clip that Patra shared, it appears as though Kejriwal is supporting the Centre’s contentious farm laws, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now said will be repealed.

A complaint had been filed regarding this by Aam Aadmi Party leader Atishi Marlena, saying that Patra was trying to instigate farmers against Kejriwal.

Earlier, the video had been marked as ‘manipulated media’ by Twitter.

On watching the full over-40-minute video, the court noted that it can be seen that Arvind Kejriwal is responding to a journalist’s question by quoting what some Bhartiya Janata Party leaders have said about the farm laws. Patra, however had 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 was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.

The court’s order stated, “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.”

After conducting a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) study on the clip and presenting it to the court, a bench of metropolitan magistrate Rishabh Kumar said, “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 Delhi Police was also questioned by the court for not properly investigating the doctored video or the circumstances under which Sambit Patra shared it.

“Besides, the police has also not conducted any probe to find out whether the impugned video clip was already available in the public domain by associating twitter during the inquiry,” the court said adding, “so as to rule out the fabrication/ alteration of the same at the behest of proposed accused.”

Further, the court said, “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.”

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