Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh told Fadnavis that celebrities are not being investigated but it is the BJP IT cell which remains in focus. (HT Photo)
Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh told Fadnavis that celebrities are not being investigated but it is the BJP IT cell which remains in focus. (HT Photo)

Probe not against Tendulkar or Lata Mangeshkar but against BJP IT cell: Deshmukh

  • Deshmukh on February 8 ordered a probe to check if Indian celebrities were forced to tweet by the BJP to counter the tweets posted by international celebrities who tweeted criticising the government’s handling of the farm laws.
By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 04:59 PM IST

Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday clarified in the state assembly that investigation into Twitter posts by Indian icons in response to tweets by international celebrities on farmers’ protests is not aimed at legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar or former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

Deshmukh while replying to a question to the Leader of Opposition and Maharashtra’s former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “The probe has been ordered against people belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) IT cell. Twelve people have been identified and they will be probed, not Sachin Tendulkar or Lata Mangeshkar.”

Fadnavis had said that the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) wanted to investigate people speaking in the interests of the nation. “The MVA government wants to investigate and question people who tweeted in national interest,” Fadnavis was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Deshmukh on February 8 ordered a probe to check if Indian celebrities were forced to tweet by the BJP to counter the tweets posted by international celebrities who tweeted criticising the government’s handling of the farm laws.

Several Indian celebrities mostly from India’s film industry as well as the cricket industry had tweeted using the hashtags #IndiaAgainstPropaganda and #IndiaTogether on February 3 and expressed their support towards the government. This came after pop star and singer Rihanna and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had extended their support to the farmers who have been protesting for the last 96 days at Delhi’s borders.

Maharashtra Congress had then alleged that the tweets must have been shared due to pressure from the Centre. “There is a similar pattern in these tweets by celebrities, including Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, and sportspersons Sachin Tendulkar and Saina Nehwal. There needs to be an investigation to check if these national heroes were pressured by the BJP for such advocacy on social media,” Maharashtra Congress leader Sachin Sawant had said.

Sawant had also said that these celebrities need to be given more protection and suspected that there was communication between these celebrities and the ruling party.

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