New Delhi: The Delhi Police’s Special Cell on Monday (May 24) sent a notice to Twitter India in connection with the probe into a complaint about the alleged ‘COVID toolkit’, asking it to share information based on which it had classified a related tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra as “manipulated media”, officials said.

Two police teams also descended on the microblogging site’s offices in Lado Sarai in Delhi and in Gurgaon this evening. 

The Delhi police team went to the Twitter office to serve a notice to Twitter as a part of a routine process. This was necessitated as we wanted to ascertain who is the right person to serve a notice, as replies by Twitter India MD have been very ambiguous,” Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal said.

The BJP has accused Congress of creating a ‘toolkit’ that seeks to tarnish the image of the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the handling of the COVID pandemic. However, Congress has denied the allegation and claimed that the BJP is propagating a fake ‘toolkit’ to defame it.

Last week, Twitter labelled as “manipulated media” a tweet by Patra on the alleged ‘toolkit’. Twitter says it “may label Tweets that include media (videos, audio, and images) that have been deceptively altered or fabricated”.
Biswal said the Delhi Police is inquiring into a complaint in the toolkit matter. 

“It appears that Twitter has some information which is not known to us and on the basis of which they have classified it (Patra’s tweet) as such. This information is relevant to the inquiry. The Special Cell, which is conducting the inquiry, wants to find out the truth. Twitter, which has claimed to know the underlying truth, should clarify,” he said.

The police, however, refused to divulge the contents of the complaint or the identity of the complainant.

The notice sent earlier to Twitter India MD stated that “whereas a preliminary enquiry is being conducted pertaining to the ‘Toolkit’ which is allegedly released by the Indian National Congress and whereas during the course of the investigation, it has come to our knowledge that you are acquainted with the facts of the matter and are in possession of information with regard to the same.”

The police in the notice requested Twitter India MD to be present in the DCP office for the purpose of investigation with all the relevant documents on May 22 at 1 PM. 

Twitter, however, did not wish to offer any comment. 

The government had earlier asked Twitter to remove the ‘manipulated media’ tag as the matter is pending before law enforcement agency, and made it clear that the social media platform cannot pass judgment when the issue is under investigation.

BJP leaders, including Patra, have posted numerous tweets to attack Congress over the purported ‘toolkit’.

On May 19, the Congress lodged a police complaint seeking registration of cases against BJP chief J P Nadda, Union minister Smriti Irani, BJP general secretary B L Santosh and Patra over the alleged forgery of documents.

The Chhattisgarh unit of the Congress’ students wing NSUI also lodged a complaint against Patra and former chief minister Raman Singh for allegedly “forging” the letterhead of the AICC Research Department and printing “false and fabricated” content on it. 

On the basis of the complaint, a case has been filed against Patra and Singh at the Civil Lines police station in Raipur.

(inputs from agency)

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