So Ankit Fadia wasn’t lying.
Even as self-proclaimed "ethical hacker" Ankit Fadia, 30 claimed on his Facebook page that he had been named brand ambassador for the Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative, a statement by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology on Tuesday morning first denied any such claim.
"There were certain news reports that there is a move to appoint a brand ambassador for 'Digital India' programme of the government. This is to clarify that there has been no such move to appoint a brand ambassador as reported," it said.
Curiously, an hour after the post on the government's publicity web site, it was withdrawn.
But by evening, it confirmed Fadia's appointment, along with three others -- Satwat Jagwani and Krati Tiwari, both IIT toppers, and computer scientist Pranav Mistry of Samsung USA.
Fadia, who shot to fame when he was all of 15 with his book "Unofficial Guide to Ethical Hacking", stood his ground and said the appointment letter was issued on July 1 and signed by then IT secretary Ram Sewak Sharma, now chairman of the telecom watchdog.
“Yes, it is a real certificate. I got this in July. I think there are other brand ambassadors too, though I am not sure who they are. The certificate was given at the Digital India event that was held in Delhi in July,” Ankit Fadia had told The News Minute.
Read our interview with him in which he speaks about blogs against him.
His Facebook post also said: "Humbled and honoured to be appointed as one of the brand ambassadors to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Digital India' initiative."
Fadia is no stranger to controversy. The ethical hacker turned author, has been blamed for extensive plagiarism.
A Forbes report titled 'Ankit Fadia Revealed' had accused him of falsely building a brand image and narrates how their discussion frequently came to an impasse after neither party could prove or disprove the allegations against Fadia.
The report also counters Fadia's claims of shooting to fame after hacking the website of CHIP when he was 13, as the writer of the Forbes report used to be the editor of the magazine himself.
Reacting to the Forbes article, Fadia said, “There are people who like my work and others who don’t like my work at all. I started as hacker, wrote books and hosted a show. Lot of hackers in India didn’t like that and think they know more than me, that probably is true. They did not like the guy who was getting so much attention. No one stopped them from hacking, writing books or anchoring shows.”