Army man arrested for sharing fake information on Covid-19 cases related to private news channelUpdated: May 23, 2020 23:46 IST
A 54-year-old Agra-based army man was arrested by Noida police on Friday for allegedly sharing fake information about coronavirus positive cases emerging at a Sector-85 based private news channel.
According to the channel, the suspect spread false information on social media about 19 employees testing positive for the deadly infection which could have created panic among the public.
“The incident came to light on May 20, and employees of the channel and their family members started panicking when they came across the false news at first. Around 4pm, the suspect had shared the false information on his social media account that after coronavirus cases at Zee Media group (of which 32 employees have tested positive so far), 19 persons from our channel had tested positive as well. He even urged the people to maintain distance from all our employees,” said Rahul Khanna, who is part of the news channel, in a complaint to the police.
He alleged that the suspect shared the false information knowing that it could create panic in many.
“This was a targeted act against us, meant to harass us mentally. The act which violates the epidemic act was a ploy to defame us. The situation in the country is already tense, and this kind of false news can cause a lot of harm. From the suspects’ posts it is clear that the idea behind it was to destroy the goodwill of the channel,” said Khanna in his complaint.
After the post circulated on social media, employees of the news channel started getting calls fro their friends and relatives. The incident was reported to the police on May 21.
Taking cognisance of the matter, a case was registered against the suspect, identified as Rajesh Sharma, at the Phase 2 police station under sections 505 (2) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the IT Act and epidemic act. He was arrested from his home in Agra. The police said the suspect works as a radar operator for the Indian Army.
“Whether the social media post was generated by him or he only shared it is still being investigated. However, commenting, sharing or forwarding any fake content is liable to legal action under the IT Act,” said deputy commissioner of police( zone 2), Harish Chandra.
Police officers said the suspect reportedly told them that he only shared something that he had received from another source.
The suspect was produced before a magistrate and later sent to jail, the police said.