The Delhi police have summoned for questioning the Indian Express reporter Mahender Singh Manral, who that a police investigation had found an audio clip in which Tablighi Jamaat head Maulana Saad is purportedly heard asking his followers not to observe social distancing may have been doctored.
The “initial investigation by the Delhi police’s Crime Branch has found that an audio clip mentioned in the police FIR against Markaz Nizamuddin head Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, which suggested he had asked Tablighi Jamaat members not to follow social distancing norms and prohibitory orders, may be ‘doctored’ and stitched together using several audio files,” Manral’s report said.
After the report was published on May 9, the Delhi police tweeted that the “news is not only factually incorrect but seems to be based on wholly unverified sources and purely conjectural imagination”.
Responding to the tweet, the newspaper said it stood by Manral’s story: "The report is based on conversations with sources and officials aware of the probe against Maulana Saad.”
On Sunday evening, the police emailed a legal notice to the newspaper, summoning Manral to join the probe on Monday or face legal action amounting to fine and a jail term.
Significantly, a on fake news published by the Bureau of Police Research and Development on its website included the audio clip of Saad in the “fake news and disinformation vectors” section. The report was later removed.
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