The Delhi Police's Special Cell on Monday sent a notice to Twitter India in connection with the probe into a complaint about an 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 descended on the microblogging site's offices in Lado Sarai in Delhi and in Gurgaon on Monday evening. "The Delhi police team went to the Twitter office to serve a notice to Twitter as a part of 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.
However, videos of the incident showed that the office of Twitter was reportedly closed as all its employees were working from home due to the pandemic. The BJP has accused the 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, the Congress has denied the allegation and claimed that the BJP is propagating a fake 'toolkit' to defame it.
Delhi Police Special Cell team returns from Gurgaon after they find the Twitter India offices shut. Apparently there is work from home at @TwitterIndia since March last year. Was this move by Government to send out a message? pic.twitter.com/aCBfjhb5CCâ€” Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) May 24, 2021
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. 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 agencies, 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 the Congress over the purported 'toolkit'. On May 19, the Congress lodged a police complaint seeking registration of cases against BJP chief JP Nadda, Union minister Smriti Irani, BJP general secretary BL 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.
Responding to the latest instance of the notices being served, the Congress on Monday alleged that the "cowardly raid" on the microblogging site's offices by the Delhi Police "exposes lameduck attempts" to hide a "fraudulent toolkit" by BJP leaders.