The tiff between Twitter India and Delhi Police has been in the limelight for about a month now. According to the officials, Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari was time and again questioned in attempts to unveil the connection with the “Covid toolkit attributed by Congress” case. The matter initially began with BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra’s remark in form of an alleged tweet saying that Congress has prepared a toolkit to target the government over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tweet of Sambit Patra was flagged as “manipulated media” by the micro-blogging site Twitter.
Delhi Police later intertwined amidst this dispute when Congress’s social media head Rohan Gupta and party spokesperson MV Rajeev Gowda filed a complaint. Despite issuing several notices against Twitter India, there was no response from their side. The police also tried to reach out to the offices of Twitter located in Delhi and the National Capital Region. With no lead in the allocation and contacts; Delhi police finally approached Twitter India’s MD Manish Maheshwari. On the other hand, Congress too filed a complaint accusing BJP of forgery and attempts to stifle free speech and indulge in intimidation.
The Delhi Police travelled to the doorsteps of Manish Maheshwari allaying to his apprehensions about COVID-19 safety, in attempts to get answers to all the relevant questions in connection with the case. In response, Twitter MD Manish Maheshwari provided his Bengaluru address and agreed to join the probe. Delhi Police sent a special team to Bengaluru on May 31 in order to question Maheshwari.
Throughout the questioning, which went on for around two hours, Maheshwari tried to emphasize how he was not in charge of the content-related issues. Delhi Police further tried to dig deep into the dispute and asked about the kind of information Twitter India had about “toolkit”, and why they had chosen to give it the label of “manipulated media”. The responses by the Twitter India MD were reportedly ambiguous and mendacious, according to sources from the Delhi Police.
Delhi Police is still conducting a preliminary enquiry before registering an FIR against individuals and organizations involved in the matter. BJPs officials involved in the matter are also likely to be questioned. For the time being, the government has asked Twitter to remove the “manipulated media” label since the dispute hasn’t had a conclusion and was pending before the law enforcement agency. The government made it clear to the social media platforms that judgements cannot be passed while the matter is still under investigation.
The article has been filed by Aditri Priya