The Chennai Cyber Crime Branch has registered a case on charges of forgery, damage to reputation and IT Act against unnamed people for creating and circulating a fake email of Vinay Sarawagi, Associate Execute Editor of news18.com on Friday. A case was registered based on a complaint by Vinay Sarawagi after YouTuber Maridhas shared a forged email to make a claim that the News18 organization accepted the allegations made by him and others on its staff members. In his complaint, Vinay had said that the fake email harmed his reputation and also of his channel.
The Cyber Crime Branch on Friday registered a case on Section 465 (Punishment for forgery), Section 469 (Forgery for purpose of harming reputation) and Section 471 (Using as genuine a forged (document or electronic record) of Indian Penal Code and Section 66 B and Section 43 of Information Technology Act 2000. The Crime Branch has not named Maridhas or anyone else who shared the mail, as the primary investigation is about who created the fake mail id and sent the mail.
According to the complainant Vinay Sarawagi, Maridhas posted a video alleging that the channel was operated by supporters of DMK and Dravidar Kazhagam and the channel has been running an anti-Hindu campaign for the past four years. Maridhas also said that the followers of Hindu religion should send emails to the office complaining about the same. Vinay Sarawagi said that the Youtuberâ€™s made around 2500 people send emails to the Chennai branch of the company based on false allegations on the channel.
Later, Maridhas claimed that he had recieved a reply from the channel and posted a screenshot of the same. The complainant said, â€śMaridhas posted a tweet on his twitter handle @Maridhasanswers wherein he claimed that the management of the channel accepted the allegations made by him and the preliminary investigations has found that the allegations are correct.â€ť
Maridhas posted a new video on July 10 on his Youtube channel claiming that Vinay Sarawagi sent him a mail that the company has accepted the allegations made by him. However, Vinay Sarawagi said the email was forged and fabricated.
The complaint says, â€śThe email shown in the video has been forged with intentions of spreading fake news and causing damage to and harming the reputation of our channel, its editors and reporters based in Chennai. It is clear that Maridhas has himself made a false document and forged a said email and used and transmitted the same with intention that it is believed to have been made and transmitted by me.â€ť
The editor said that by forging the email, Maridhas has attempted to outrage and provoke the religious feelings of Hindus, provoke people to attack public places and commit other offences, and promotes false allegations, rumour and alarming news with intent to promote hatred and ill-will between religious groups and communities.