The Delhi Police on Saturday registered an FIR against online news portal The Wire after BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya filed a complaint alleging that the media company forged documents with a view to malign and tarnish his reputation.
'The Wire', its founder Siddharth Varadarajan, its founder editors Sidharth Bhatia and M.K. Venu and its deputy editor and executive news producer Jahnavi Sen have been named in the FIR that has been registered under Sections 420, 468, 469, 471, 500 r/w 120B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
Malviya had earlier said that he would pursue criminal and civil proceedings against The Wire over stories, since retracted, that insinuated that the BJP leader enjoyed the privilege on Meta platforms of having any post taken down which he believed was against the BJP's interests.
Though The Wire has apologised to readers and withdrawn the stories as questions, including from experts, mounted over their veracity, the BJP leader noted that it has refrained from apologising to him despite "maligning and tarnishing my reputation and causing serious harm to my professional career".
"My role requires me to vociferously advocate the BJP's point of view on national issues across platforms. This role is based on trust and camaraderie between me and my interlocutors across platforms and more importantly with the public. However, The Wire's stories have vitiated the atmosphere and severely dented relationships and trust built over years in order for me to carry out the functions of my responsibility," Malviya had said.
The Wire in a statement on Thursday had said journalists rely on sources for stories and do their best to verify material they receive.
"Technological evidence is more complicated and the usual due diligence may not always reveal the fraud perpetrated upon a publication. This is what happened to us," it said.
The stories claimed that Malviya was allowed to post any content on Instagram without any of its filtration algorithms kicking in.
The BJP leader said even after Meta issued a categorical denial and said the documents shown by the portal were "fabricated" and that the 'Xcheck' status, the privilege reportedly bestowed on him, had been mischaracterised, The Wire instead of pausing its coverage and doing an internal audit went on to publish yet another "malicious" report.
"It is clear that The Wire and some unknown persons entered into a criminal conspiracy with intent to malign and tarnish my reputation, deliberately inserted my name into a story, and fabricated evidence to implicate me," he said.
With PTI inputs