On Wednesday, Maharashtra government initiated action against a news TV channel, Times Now, for running false news about Cabinet Minister Jitendra Awhad and his daughter testing positive for COVID-19.
Taking to Twitter, Maharashtra Home Minister, Anil Deshmukh, said on April 15 a news channel ran false report that Jitendra Awhad's daughter was tested positive while she was returning to India from Spain. And action will be taken against such news channel for running false news.
This came after Jitendra Awhad wrote a lengthy blog on Facebook speaking about the news report that Times Now had run about his daughter. On Wednesday, Jitendra Awhad, Housing Minister, Maharashtra released his coronavirus test report, which came negative, after some media reports claimed that he had tested positive.
In the blog, 'Forgive me, I lost', Awhad said: “It all started from March 8, I was still holding meetings of SRA to solve questions raised by poor people. During which many people told me to stay home and take care of myself due to coronavirus outbreak, but I didn’t listen and continued with my work. But when government announced lockdown, I started thinking about what to do and how to help people. That’s when, with help of few friends and supporters, I started distributing food to needy people.”
He further writes about a person who used to visit his place regularly. “That person, was tested positive and hence as responsible citizen I went and got tested. I also took some people working with me and got them tested too, out which few tested positive,” he wrote. At the end of the blog he wrote that on April 15, Times Now ran a report saying he and his daughter had tested positive for coronavirus.
On Wednesday, Awhad had tweeted: "I am fit and fine... Working on streets... But some channels using me for TRP... Interesting to know that they think people watch this also. Undoubtedly, I was exposed for over a month... God is kind who are kind to others."
This not the first time Maharashtra government has taken action against a news channel for running fake news. On Wednesday, a TV journalist was arrested for spreading misinformation about resuming of railways, which led to a huge gathering of migrant labourers outside Bandra railway station on Tuesday. The reporter, Rahul Kulkarni, was detained in Osmanabad in Marathwada region, where he is based, and brought to Mumbai where he was arrested.