Police raid news site’s office over retracted article about BJP official; computers and phones confiscated
On October 31, Delhi police conducted a raid at The Wire’s office and the homes of its creator and editors in response to a complaint made by Amit Malviya, the head of the BJP’s social media division. During the raid, the authorities seized the laptops and phones.
On October 29, Amit Malviya filed a complaint against a news website over a number of stories that were later taken down that mentioned Malviya’s privileged treatment at Meta, the social media company that owns Facebook and Instagram.
The Wire said in an exclusive story on October 10 that Amit Malviya, the head of the ruling party’s IT Cell, reported certain postings by an Instagram account and had them all removed purely at his discretion because that was one of the benefits of being an XCheck user like Malviya.
The Wire provided screenshots of what it claimed to be an internal report that had been provided by a source it said it had within Meta in order to substantiate its claims. Meta refuted the claims in a statement posted on its official website two days later.
The Wire first backed up its stories in the days that followed by publishing two further reports to support their initial two. On October 18, however, the news organisation reversed course and said it would conduct an internal assessment while suspending all four of its pieces on the subject. The Wire retracts these allegations on October 23, noting inconsistencies in the source information.
On October 29, after a few days of retracting their Meta stories, Amit Malviya lodged a complaint against the founder and editor of the news portal, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, M.K. Venu, and Jahnavi Sen, under sections 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery with the purpose of cheating), 469 (forgery to harm reputation), 471 (using a forged document), 500 (defamation), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
The Wire’s former researcher Devesh Kumar, who worked on their story regarding Meta, was the subject of a complaint filed with the Delhi Police on the same day. The Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) was notified by mail of the allegation against Kumar, which claimed that recent Meta reports on the portal were false and fabricated.