Television news channel India Today, in a first of its kind action against a senior journalist, has taken its prime time anchor Rajdeep Sardesai off air for two weeks for having allegedly peddled misinformation, reported The Wire.
Sardesai’s one-month salary too has been deducted, it was reported.
On January 26, 2021, as the farmers’ protest in Delhi turned violent in which a protestor was also killed when his tractor overturned, Sardesai had claimed on live television, and also later in a tweet, that the Delhi Police had shot the farmer dead.
"One person, 24-year-old Navneet, was killed allegedly in police firing at ITO. Farmers tell me: the ‘sacrifice’ will not go in vain,” he had tweeted.
On air, he had claimed that the dead protestor had been shot in the head and that the body had been shown to him.
— The Bhumihar (@TheBhumihar10) January 28, 2021
However, the Delhi Police refuted the claim and proclaimed that the man had died because his tractor had overturned. The police also released a video in which a tractor can be seen going out of control and overturning.
After the video was made public, Sardesai deleted his tweet and retracted his earlier statement.
राजदीप सरदेसाई ने झूठ बोला
राजदीप ने कहा कि उसने खुद देखा नवनीत के सिर पर गोली लगी थी
पोस्टमार्टम और वीडियो में राजदीप के झूठ का पर्दाफाश
राजदीप दिल्ली पुलिस पर हमले के लिए खुलेआम भड़का रहा था #ArrestRajdeepNow pic.twitter.com/1n5mAPG4Nr
— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) January 27, 2021
"While the farm protestors claim that the deceased Navneet Singh was shot at by Delhi Police while on a tractor, this video clearly shows that the tractor overturned while trying to break the police barricades. The farm protestors’ allegations don’t stand. Post mortem awaited," he said.
While the farm protestors claim that the deceased Navneet Singh was shot at by Delhi police while on a tractor, this video clearly shows that the tractor overturned while trying to break the police barricades. The farm protestors allegations don’t stand. Post mortem awaited.👇 pic.twitter.com/JnuU05psgR
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) January 26, 2021
A host of netizens, including many Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, had taken to Twitter to criticise Sardesai and demanded his arrest for circulating fake news in the midst of an inflammatory situation.