Trinamool Congress spokesman Saket Gokhale was detained by the Gujarat police from Jaipur without the knowledge of their Rajasthan counterparts, officers in the Gujarat’s Cyber Cell unit have told NDTV on condition of anonymity. Mr Gokhale was formally arrested today after a questioning session in Ahmedabad. He has been accused of spreading “fake news” on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sources in Rajasthan police said they were not informed about the arrest.
“We didn’t inform the Rajasthan police team,” a source in the Cyber Cell told NDTV today, adding they had followed the “legal process”.
“Saket Gokhale was accused in a case in the state of Gujarat. Gujarat police went and detained him… Gokhale wasn’t informed or asked to come to Gujarat. We intercepted him in Rajasthan and picked him up from there,” a source told NDTV.
The Gujarat police allege that Mr Gokhale has made fake allegations that PM Modi’s visit to Gujarat’s Morbi in November cost the state government Rs 30 crore — around six times the total compensation given to the victims of the bridge collapse. He has also faked documents for his tweet on the subject, police sources have alleged.
The government’s fact-check unit had zeroed in on the tweet, which was accompanied by what appeared to be a newspaper clipping. “RTI revealed the PM’s visit to Morbi cost Rs 30 crore,” it said. The Press Information Bureau, in its fact-check of December 1, said it was fake and “no such RTI response was given”.
Mr Gokhale was apparently detained by the Gujarat police soon after he landed in Jaipur on Monday evening. But the news became known only after senior Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien tweeted about it this morning.
“At 2 in the morning on Tuesday, he called his Ma and told her that they are taking him to Ahmedabad and he would reach Ahmedabad by noon today. The police let him make that one two-minute phone call and then confiscated his phone and all his belongings,” Mr O’Brien said in a series of tweets.
The case against the RTI activist-turned-politician has been “cooked up by the Ahmedabad [police] cyber cell about Saket’s tweet on the Morbi bridge collapse,” he added.
The bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi town had collapsed on October 30, four days after it was reopened following a renovation. More than 130 people had died. Investigation indicated that renovation contractor did not follow the norms and the bridge did not have a clearance for opening from the municipal authorities.
PM Modi had visited the spot on November 1 and met the injured.