- Delhi Police went to Twitter's offices in south Delhi and Gurgaon
- Police said they visited the office to hand over a notice
- The case involves BJP leader Sambit Patra's tweet on May 18
Delhi Police teams landed at the offices of Twitter India on Monday evening after serving notice to the social media giant in a row over BJP leader Sambit Patra's tweet on an alleged "Congress toolkit" being marked as "manipulated media".
The police said they went to Twitter India's offices in south Delhi and at Gurgaon to hand the notice in person after finding the company's replies "ambiguous". Defending the move, the government questioned the "hue and cry" over it, saying this was the third notice to Twitter.
"Instead of cooperating with law enforcement, Twitter has tried to play victim by mischievously overplaying a routine procedure this time," said government sources.
The visit "was necessitated as we wanted to ascertain who is the right person to serve a notice, as replies by Twitter India Managing Director have been very ambiguous," said the Delhi Police.
Visuals showed Special Cell cops at the Delhi office, which was shut as most employees are working from home in the Covid lockdown. An officer was seen asking an employee for the names of top managers.
The case involves BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra's tweet on May 18, shared by several leaders of the ruling party, which had screenshots of what he called a "Congress toolkit" aimed at discrediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government's handling of Covid. The Congress wrote to Twitter saying the alleged "toolkit" was fake and forged letterheads had been used in the screenshots in circulation. The opposition party also said it had filed FIRs against BJP leaders who had shared the documents.
Friends look at the #CongressToolKit in extending help to the needy during the Pandemic!— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) May 18, 2021
More of a PR exercise with the help of “Friendly Journalists” & “Influencers” than a soulful endeavour.
Read for yourselves the agenda of the Congress:#CongressToolKitExposedpic.twitter.com/3b7c2GN0re
On Thursday evening, Twitter marked Mr Patra's tweet as "manipulated media". The next day, the government wrote a stern letter asking Twitter to remove the tag as the "toolkit" was still being investigated.
On Monday, the Delhi Police's Special Cell sent notice to Twitter asking for a clarification.
"Delhi Police is inquiring into a complaint in which a clarification is sought from the Twitter regarding the classification of a tweet by Sambit Patra as 'manipulative'. It appears that Twitter has some information which is not known to us, on the basis of which they have classified it as such. This information is relevant to the enquiry. Special Cell which is conducting the enquiry wants to find out the truth. Twitter, which has claimed to know the underlying truth, should clarify," said a Delhi Police spokesperson.
But the police refused to reveal details of the complaint or the complainant.
Screenshots of the so-called "toolkit" shared by several BJP leaders featured alleged tips for Congress workers to target the government on Covid. The controversial recommendations included using the phrase "Indian strain" or "Modi strain" for the mutant detected in India, using the term "super-spreader Kumbh" and "not commenting on Eid gatherings".
The Congress completely denied it and alleged that All India Congress Committee (AICC) Research Department letterhead on the documents were forged.