Feeling vindicated after an AIIMS report confirmed that actor Sushant Singh Rajput had indeed died by suicide, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Tuesday said action would be taken against trolls for marring the image of Mumbai police on social media.
Deshmukh was referring to charges on social media that Sushant was murdered and that the state administration and the Mumbai Police were trying to falsely portray the death as suicide.
Addressing a press conference, Deshmukh said, “We have asked the Mumbai Police to investigate the accounts that maligned the image of Mumbai Police on social media,” Deshmukh told reporters.
“It is disheartening to see that even someone who led the state for five years like Devendra Fadnavis too doubted the very Mumbai Police that was under him for all these years. Now that everything is clear they should apologise to the people of Maharashtra. If not, they will never be forgiven by those living in Maharashtra,” Deshmukh said.
Deshmukh trained his gun at BJP by quoting a recent study had found the hand of BJP and some news channels in “hyping conspiracy theories”. The Maharashtra home minister claimed that “Michigan University had reviewed the Sushant Singh Rajput case and found the BJP’s hand in hyping conspiracy theories around the Sushant Singh case”.
“Some news channels too, have been named in this study. There is a national party that has been responsible for this campaign to malign Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s Maharashtra. There was a supari given to damage the prestige of Maharashtra,” Deshmukh said.
The study that Deshmukh was referring to, ‘Anatomy of a Rumour: Social Media and the Suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput’, has been posted on a preprint server, and is not peer reviewed. It has been done by five individuals who have declared their affiliation with “Microsoft Research, India”.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said a special team has registered two FIRs. “Our social media labs have been tracking these fake accounts that have been defaming us since August,” Singh told The Indian Express. “Our cyber police have registered two FIRs in the case. There are thousands of such accounts including some that were being operated from outside the country to carry out this smear campaign against the police,” the commissioner said.
BJP leader Atul Bhatkhalkar responded to Deshmukh’s charge by putting a tweet: “The government should carry out an inquiry so that it is proved that they have levied fake charges against the BJP and Fadnavis. Once it is established the charges are fake, they should apologise to the people of Maharashtra.”