The former television newsreader released a video saying that there is non-availability of beds for COVID-19 patients in Chennai.

Varadharajan and VijayabhaskarImage for representation
Coronavirus Controversy Tuesday, June 09, 2020 - 14:07

Former television newsreader and theatre artiste Varadharajan has been booked under the sections of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1987 for a video in which he had spoken about non-availability of beds for COVID-19 patients in Chennai hospitals. The government has called this video false and misleading.

The case was booked following Health Minister Vijaya Baskar’s statement in his press meet on Monday condemning the video released by Varadharajan. The Minister also threatened that action would be taken against him under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

In a video posted by Varadharajan, he had recounted an experience of his friend's and said, “My friend had fever for two days and suddenly he had breathing problems. It was like a coronavirus attack but we did not get a bed in both government and private hospitals when we tried to admit him. The hospitals told us not to bring him and they cannot provide treatment.”

In the presser, refuting the claim, the Minister said, “Will you be able to point out any one coronavirus patient who wasn’t admitted in hospitals due to lack of beds? There are 5,000 beds available in Government Hospitals for COVID-19 patients in Chennai alone.”

The Minister also said that Varadharajan has released a video to spread false information during a pandemic and hence action would be taken under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

Following this, Varadharajan posted another video in which he said, “I sent the video to my friends in the theater WhatsApp group but it was circulated widely. The State and the Central government are working full-fledgedly and we need to cooperate.”

However, the Central Crime Branch booked a case following a complaint from the Health Department on Monday. A case was registered against him under IPC 153 (spreading rumour), IPC 199 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), IPC 505 (1)(b) (intentionally spreading fake news) and section 3 of Epidemic Diseases Act.

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