Delhi Police Question Devesh Kumar In The Wire Fake News Case

Devesh Kumar, an ex-consultant of The Wire, is being questioned by the Crime Branch in connection with the fake stories published by the news platform. 

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By: Alok Singh | NEW DELHI
Updated: 03 November, 2022 5:39 pm IST
Devesh Kumar is not named in the FIR, however, he was called for questioning as a person of interest in the case

Devesh Kumar, an ex-consultant of The Wire, is being questioned by the Crime Branch in connection with the fake stories published by the news platform.

Kumar is not named in the FIR, however, he was called for questioning as a person of interest in the case filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) IT cell head Amit Malviya against The Wire.

Malviya had given a written complaint last week, to the police against The Wire and its senior editors on charges of defamation and cheating for its reporting, alleging his role in the removal of Instagram posts critical of the party.

After his complaint, the Crime Branch filed a case of forgery and cheating against The Wire and four of its editors.

On Monday, the sleuths of the Crime Branch conducted searches of the office of The Wire and the residences of four editors of the organization, including its founder and editor-in-chief, Siddharth Varadarajan. The agency also seized several documents, laptops and mobile phones.

Kumar, who is also a researcher, is stated to be the one who passed on the documents and video content to The Wire for the stories. The Wire, after retracting the news from its website, blamed Kumar for giving fake documents. The Wire before the police complaint also said Kumar is “mentally disturbed”.

While reaching the Crime Branch office in Chanakyapuri, Kumar told the media that he will talk on every matter when he comes out of the Crime Branch office.

On Wednesday, Kumar told the media that the claims of being mentally disturbed by The Wire were wrong.

Kumar, a native of Gaya, Bihar, had come to the Crime Branch in an autorickshaw. His mother also accompanied him.

In the letter to the Delhi special commissioner of police (crime), Malviya alleged that the online news organisation published reports based on forged documents with the intention of harming his reputation.

He had said the company had “forged documents with a view to maligning and tarnishing his reputation”.

On the other hand, the police said that their investigations are underway. As of now, they have not questioned any of the accused, but in the coming days, they will be called for questioning.

Earlier this month, The Wire published two sensational reports, claiming that Malviya enjoyed X-Check privileges, which let him report any post on Instagram, the photo-sharing platform owned by Meta.

The reports claimed that the posts flagged by him were destined to be removed from the platform without any review.

Apart from The Wire, the complaint also lists its editors Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, MK Venu and deputy editor and executive news producer Jahnavi Sen under sections 420, 468, 469, 471, 50 read with 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Earlier this week, Malviya announced that he would be filing civil and criminal proceedings against the news website.

“After consultation with my lawyers and seeking their advice, I have decided to file criminal and civil proceedings against The Wire,” Malviya said in a statement on October 27.

“Not only will I be setting the criminal process in motion, but I will also sue them in a civil court seeking damages as they forged documents with a view to maligning and tarnishing my reputation,” Malviya stated.

The Wire came under severe criticism as experts raised multiple questions related to the authenticity and source of its reports, forcing it to halt its series on the Meta news stories.

Later, the website announced the setting up of an internal audit panel and issued an apology to its readers, admitting that its reports did not go through multiple editing checks and verification of the documents it claimed to have received from a source in Meta.

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