Mumbai: A preliminary probe by the Maharashtra Police has revealed that the BJP’s IT cell chief and 12 other influencers are involved in the case pertaining to the tweets by celebrities that had similar hashtags like #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropagada to counter the tweets posted by foreign celebrities who had came out in support of the Indian farmers. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday said police are taking action accordingly. Deshmukh had earlier alleged that these persons could have been under pressure from the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
However, in a major turnaround, Deshmukh said he had not ordered a probe into tweets by Bharat Ratnas Lata Mangeshkar and Sachin Tendulkar. But a probe had been ordered to investigate the role of the BJP IT cell in the matter of the identical tweets by celebrities.
“A preliminary investigation has revealed that the BJP’s IT cell chief and 12 other influencers are involved in the tweets case and police are taking action accordingly,’’ he noted.
“My statement regarding celebrity tweets on the issue of farmers’ protest has been twisted. I had ordered an inquiry into the BJP’s IT cell, as it was likely to be involved in the case, and not celebrities. Lata Mangeshkarji and Sachin Tendulkarji are the pride of Maharashtra,’’ he noted.
“Latadidi is our deity. Sachin is everyone’s darling. Opponents spread rumours that I had ordered a probe into the tweets by them. This was when I was detected Covid-19 positive and undergoing treatment. Beware of the ‘fake factory’ owners who spread rumours and take care, as the laws are very stringent,’’ said Deshmukh.
Deshmukh had ordered a probe after a complaint by the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant, who had argued that the celebrity tweets were a ‘coordinated effort’, as many of them were similarly worded and had been posted around the same time with common hashtags, raising suspicions of whether they had been posted under some external pressure.
Deshmukh’s decision had attracted criticism from the BJP. Leader of the Opposition Devendra Fadnavis had attacked the state government, saying, “Not only for Maharashtra but Sachin Tendulkar is the pride of the entire country. Will the leader of the Maha Vikas Aghadi brook such insult of a Bharat Ratna recipient?”