K'tka Police book Aaj Tak Anchor Sudhir Chaudhary for claiming Hindus were left out from a Govt schemetext_fields
Bengaluru: The Karnataka Police have taken legal action against Sudhir Chaudhary, a prominent news anchor from Aaj Tak, for allegedly spreading misinformation about the state government's commercial vehicle subsidy scheme.
The controversy erupted when Chaudhary, during a television segment, questioned the scheme's fairness, alleging discrimination against Hindus.
Chaudhary's report centred on an advertisement by the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation that promoted a subsidy for the purchase of commercial vehicles by individuals from religious minority groups.
The news anchor claimed that this move was discriminatory against Hindus, failing to acknowledge that members of SC, ST, and BC communities could access similar benefits through other government corporations.
Karnataka's Minister for IT/BT, and Rural Development & Panchayat Raj, Priyank Kharge, condemned Chaudhary's statements as "deliberate and malicious." On September 12, the state government initiated legal proceedings against the journalist, resulting in the registration of an FIR by the Seshadripuram police in Bengaluru.
The FIR charges Sudhir Chaudhary and Aaj Tak under Section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to the complaint filed by Shivakumar S, an official of the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation, Chaudhary's reporting created communal tension by presenting a skewed version of the scheme.
The Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation offers a subsidy of up to 50% or Rs 3 lakh to individuals from religious minorities, including Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and Parsis, who wish to purchase commercial vehicles. Similar schemes are available to SCs, STs, and BCs through different government corporations.
However, Chaudhary's segment, aired on September 11, falsely claimed that only religious minorities could avail of this subsidy, alleging that the government was favouring minority communities. The complaint argues that Chaudhary's actions promoted communal discord and could potentially incite communal riots.
Responding to the FIR, Sudhir Chaudhary questioned the use of non-bailable sections for merely "asking a question." In a pointed response, Minister Priyank Kharge said, "If you sow a babool tree, how will you reap mangoes?"