'The article should not have been published in the first place,' a correction stated.
A day after it published a viral report on India exporting nearly 9,300 metric tonnes of oxygen in the first three quarters of 2020-21, Moneycontrol pulled down its story. The corrigendum said the report "was causing unnecessary panic" and portrayed a “misleading picture”.
The report has since been deleted through its archived version can be read here. It cited data from the commerce department to show that oxygen exports between April and January for 2020-2021 was "more than double" of exports in the previous financial year.
Although the government didn’t directly name Moneycontrol, in a statement to ANI, it noted that between April 2020 and February 2021, India exported 9,884 metric tonnes of industrial oxygen and only 12 metric tonnes of medical oxygen.
Moneycontrol then pulled down the article saying that the exports of 9,294 metric tonnes "represented a little more than one day's production capacity in the country".
"The article should not have been published in the first place," the correction said.
Interestingly, Moneycontrol's now-deleted report did mention India's production capacity: "Last week...the government had clarified that India had a production capacity of 7,127 MT of oxygen per day."
With respect to the confusion between "industrial oxygen exports" and "medical oxygen", Moneycontrol's report clearly dealt with that too. It said the exports were "in the form of liquid oxygen, which is later channeled for use as both industrial and medical use".
Also, at the Delhi High Court today, additional secretary Sumitra Dawra said that in April last year, "a decision was taken to draw on industrial oxygen for medical purposes" and that this decision was "hailed world over". "We allowed industrial cylinders, tankers to be used for medical purposes," she said.
Before it was taken down, Moneycontrol's story was tweeted and shared on social media by a number of opposition leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadhra and Sanjay Jha and the official Congress handle. Moneycontrol is also owned by the Network18 Group which is owned by Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries.