Devesh Kumar, a former employee of The Wire who is now under investigation by the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch for publishing absurd fake news, has been called in. This occurs one day after searches were made at the home of Siddharth Varadarajan and MK Venu, the founding editors of The Wire. Based on a complaint made by BJP member Amit Malviya, who The Wire had targeted in a campaign of stories that turned out to be false, concocted, and had to be withdrawn, the police confiscated electronic equipment including mobile phones and computers from the homes of Varadarajan, Venu, and others.
The scrambling newspaper, in the meantime, lodged a complaint against Devesh Kumar, a consultant who was once employed by it. According to the complaint, Kumar ‘fabricated and supplied documents, e-mails and other material, such as videos with a view to damage [The Wire’s] reputation. He has done so either on his own or at the behest of other unknown persons’. It’s another matter that other important members of The Wire’s staff praised and claimed ownership over its now-retracted stories.
FIR against The Wire & its bogus news
A FIR was filed against The Wire, its founders, and others under IPC Sections 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention), 120B (Criminal conspiracy), 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 469 (Forgery for purpose of reputational harm), 471 (Using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) and 500 (Defamation) of the IPC.
Amit Malviya, the national convenor of the BJP’s IT department, filed the FIR after receiving complaints from several people. Malviya had filed the aforementioned lawsuit, in which she claimed that The Wire had published a libellous article on October 10 alleging that Meta eliminates any posts reported by the head of the BJP IT unit without seeking clarification. Malviya was allegedly given direct ability to remove content from the Meta platforms because, according to the lawsuit, he was on a ‘XCheck list’ and was included in the report.
The BJP leader stated that the news outlet did not offer him an apology despite ‘maligning and ruining my name and inflicting substantial harm to my professional life,’ and that The Wire had apologised to its readers after retracting its report and receiving widespread criticism.