Mahesh Hegde's website had published a fake letter last year, which they claimed had been written by Karnataka Home Minister MB Patil to Sonia Gandhi in 2017.

Postcard News founder Mahesh Vikram Hegde detained by Karnataka cops in fake letter case
news Arrest Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 20:41

Mahesh Vikram Hedge, the founder of the website PostCard News, was detained by the Karnataka CID at Kodagu on Wednesday. Mahesh Hegde was in Kodagu to attend an event and a CID team headed by Chandra Gupta IPS detained Hegde from a resort at Virajpet in Kodagu district. The website, notorious for posting fake stories, had published a fake letter last year, which they claimed had been written by Karnataka Home Minister MB Patil to Sonia Gandhi in 2017.  

The letter, on Lingayat issue in Karnataka, re-surfaced on April 19, 2019 as it was published on the front page of  Hubbali edition of Kannada newspaper Vijaya Vani. Vijayavani was launched by Vijay Sankeshwar in 2012. Sankeshwar was previously a BJP MP from Dharwad (North) constituency.

The same day, the Karnataka unit of the BJP tweeted the fake letter alleging that Home Minister MB Patil and former All India Congress Committee chief Sonia Gandhi had “conspired to break the Lingayat community in 2017”. To prove its claim, the party tweeted the letter which says the only way to increase Congress tally is by dividing Hindus and subsequently uniting Christians and Muslims.

Based on the minister’s complaint, Hegde was picked up by the police for interrogation. His arrest will be recorded later, a source told TNM.

After news of Hegde's detention spread, BJP and RSS leaders took to social media to condemn the police action.

Why the letter was fake

The letter carried the signature of MB Patil, on the letterhead of the Bijapur Lingayat District Educational Association (BLDEA) of which he is President.

The letter has been doing the rounds on WhatsApp in 2018, since a little before the Karnataka Assembly Elections, when the issue of a separate Lingayat religion was at its peak. It was first published by PostCard News.

The 'letter' talks about a meeting that a few ministers held with representatives of the “Global Christian Council” and “World Islamic Organisation” regarding the strategy to be adopted for the Karnataka Assembly Elections. However, these two organisations do not exist.

When this was exposed by fact checkers BoomLive and AltNews in 2018, PostCard News had deleted their story and tweets.

However, M B Patil went ahead and filed a police complaint, to initiate legal action against those responsible.

Mahesh Vikram Hegde was first arrested by the Bengaluru Central Crime Branch in March last year, for a story that he had carried on PostCard News claiming that a Jain monk had been attacked.

At the time, the police had said that a Jain monk who had come for the Shravanabelagola festival had met with an accident on March 13, but Postcard News published a status message on social media stating that he had been attacked by Muslim youth.

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