A viral video about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s family is doing the rounds on social media.
The video message lists the previous and current occupations of PM Modi’s family members to insinuate that they have financially benefitted from his position as the prime minister of India.
However, we found that the message is a work of fiction and uses unverified information to conclude that Modi’s family members have amassed huge wealth during his tenure as the PM.
The video titled ‘गरीब मोदी परिवार कैसे हुआ मालदार’’ [Translation: How the Poor Modi Family Amassed Huge Wealth] lists the previous and current occupations of PM’s family members. According to the aforementioned message:
Somabhai Modi (75 yrs), a retired health officer is currently the chairman of the recruitment board in Gujarat.
Amrutbhai Modi (72 yrs), earlier employed in a private factory, is the largest real estate businessman in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.
Prahlad Modi (64 yrs) had a ration shop, but now owns Hyundai, Maruti and Honda four-wheeler show rooms in Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
Pankaj Modi (58 yrs) was earlier in the Information Department. Today, he is with Somabhai as the vice president of the recruitment board.
Bhogilal Modi (67 yrs), who was the owner of a grocery store, is the owner of Reliance Mall in Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara.
Arvind Modi (64 yrs) was a scrap dealer and is a now a contractor of steel for real estate and major construction companies.
Bharat Modi (55 yrs) was working at a petrol pump. Today, he owns the Agiaras Petrol Pump in Ahmedabad.
Ashok Modi (51 yrs) owned a kite and grocery store. Today, he is a partner with Bhogilal Modi of Reliance Mall.
WHAT WE FOUND
We ran a reverse search on the images used in the video and found that they have been lifted from a 2016 article by India Today. Titled ‘The other Modis’, the article by Senior Editor Uday Mahurkar, is a feature piece which tracks the lives of Prime Minister Modi’s extended family members. The report does not corroborate the claims in the viral video.
Mahurkar, now Information Commissioner with the Government of India, in a tweet called out similar misleading claims made in a tweet by one Radha Charan Das (@radhacharandas).
Click here for an archived version of Das’s tweet.
Next, we decided to look at claims regarding each member, one at a time, to find the veracity of the viral video.
Quite contrary to the viral message, there was no evidence to suggest that Prime Minister Modi’s elder brother Somabhai Modi is the chairman of a recruitment board in Gujarat.
To begin with, the aforementioned message does not specify which recruitment board is being referred to in the claim. Further, we found news reports which suggested that Somabhai, a retired health officer runs a maturity home in Vadnagar in Gujarat and was the vice president of Global Indians for Bharatiya Vikas (GIBV) till at least 2019.
A Google search using ‘Recruitment Boards in Gujarat’ directed us to the websites of:
However, none of these are being headed by Somabhai Modi.
The message states that Amrutbhai Modi was previously employed in a private factory and is now the largest real estate businessman in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.
According to a website called NewsBytes, Amrutbhai did retire as a fitter for a private company. However, there are no records of him being in the real estate business. Another report by DailyO states that he now lives a retired life in Ahmedabad with his son.
While the viral message asserts that Prahlad owns Hyundai, Maruti and Honda Four Wheeler Show Rooms in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, we found that earlier a ration shop owner, he is now the vice president of All India Fair Price Shop Dealers’ Federation.
In November 2019, he sat on a dharna to protest against “problems” in the public distribution system (PDS).
Further, we reached out to several retail showrooms of Hyundai, Maruti and Honda in Ahmedabad and Vadodara and learnt that none of them are owned by Prahlad Modi.
Even the claim that Prime Minister Modi’s youngest brother Pankaj Modi works with Somabhai at the alleged ‘recruitment board’ turned out to be false. We a found a report by Deccan Herald from January 2020, which stated that Pankaj Modi is a senior officer in the Gujarat government's Information Department.
Further, the websites of recruitment boards in Gujarat did not have any mention of Pankaj Modi working with them in any capacity, whatsoever.
BHOGILAL MODI & ASHOK MODI
The viral message states that Bhogilal Modi and Ashok Modi who previously owned a grocery store are now the owners of Reliance Malls in Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara.
However, according to a report by the Economic Times dated August 2020, Reliance does not practise the franchise system. Hence, there is no question of Bhogilal and Ashok Modi owning Reliance Malls in different cities of Gujarat.
To verify the same, we also spoke to store managers at Reliance Malls in Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara who confirmed that Reliance Malls are owned by Reliance Industries.
As per the message in circulation, Arvind Modi went from a scrap dealer to a steel contractor, working with major construction companies. However, there were no media reports to corroborate the same.
A Google search using ‘ARVIND MODI STEELS’ directed us to several LinkedIn profiles of Steel contractors by the name of Arvind Modi. However, none of them were related to the Prime Minister.
If the viral message is to be believed, Bharat Modi, PM’s cousin, who earlier worked at a petrol pump, now owns the ‘Agiaras Petrol Pump’ in Ahmedabad. However, a simple search on Google Maps revealed that there is no such petrol pump in existence in the city.
Quite clearly, a message ridden with unsubstantiated claims around Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extended family is gaining traction on different social media platforms.
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