Last night, the Shiv Sena accused India Today's Rahul Kanwal of "cooking up a lie" during his coverage of the assembly election results. Kanwal had said that "Sena goons" had threatened Serum Institute of India head Adar Poonawalla and demanded vaccines.
Kanwal had confused the Shiv Sena with the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana, a political party in Maharashtra headed by Raju Shetti who had reportedly released a video commenting on vaccines. Last month, Shetti had warned the centre to increase vaccine supplies to Maharashtra; if they didn't, he said, his party would stop vehicles transporting vaccines from Pune's Serum Institute to other states.
Kanwal admitted he had made a mistake on Twitter, saying that the "confusion and inconvenience caused is regretted".
The Shiv Sena had issued a letter addressed to the India Today group's Aroon Purie, demanding an apology from Kanwal to be aired on television.
Calling Kanwal's comments "absolutely untrue and defamatory", the letter said: "...to attach another party president's video to the Shiv Sena and to deliberately defame us through misinformation speaks volumes of the political bias of the anchor. It reeks of malice and misinformation campaign, maybe to divert the national debate on an important day of election result and as the country rages through Covid-19."