Fresh controversy erupted on Monday as BJP leaders countered and attempted to fact check Sharad Pawar over the corruption allegations against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh. Several BJP leaders including former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis lashed out at NCP Chief contending that he had not been "briefed properly" or that he was fabricating information.
Countering Pawar's statement that Deshmukh had been hospitalised with COVID-19 at the time mentioned in the allegations against him, Opposition leaders dug out a video clip posted by the Home Minister himself, showing that he had been holding a press conference within the specified time frame.
"If you see the former Commissioner's letter, he mentions that in mid-February he was informed by certain officers that they got such and such instructions from Home Minister. From February 6 to February 16, Mr Deshmukh was admitted in the hospital because of COVID-19," Pawar had said on Monday.
The video, shared widely since Pawar's remarks is from February 15, and has now become the foundation of tweets by Fadnavis, Amit Malviya, Sambit Patra and countless others.
But there is more to the story.
While it is true that Deshmukh had held a press conference and tweeted a video of the same on February 15, this does not necessarily make Pawar's account untrue. As per a clarification issued by the Home Minister himself, the video had been taken on the hospital premises as he prepared to leave for home quarantine.
On February 5, Deshmukh had informed via Twitter that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Reports also indicate that he had held an 'informal' press conference outside Alexis Multispecialty Hospital after his discharge. As FPJ's Sanjay Jog reported, Deshmukh had spoken to reporters from Nagpur who had come to see him from the premises of the hospital after discharged on February 15 and before getting himself home quarantined.
The Home Minister had insisted at the time that he had left the hospital only after testing positive.
(With inputs from Sanjay Jog)