New Delhi: India Today has taken its senior anchor and consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai off the air for two weeks, citing his on-air claim and tweets of a farmer's death due to police firing during the tractor rally on Republic day, The Wire reported. The channel has also deducted the anchor's one-month's salary.
On January 26, the anchor incorrectly reported both on-air and in his tweets that Navneet Singh, the farmer who lost his life during the republic day tractor rally had been killed in police firing.
Sardesai had, in a Tweet, said, "One person, 45-year-old Navneet killed allegedly in police firing at ITO. Farmers tell me: the 'sacrifice' will not go in vain."
The tweet was later deleted by the anchor.
Several protesters had claimed that the farmer was shot during the police firing. Hoever, the Delhi Police had said that the farmer had died when his tractor overturned and later, they released a video in which a tractor can be seen going out of control and overturning.
Minutes after this video was released, Sardesai had retracted his statement saying, "While the farm protestors claim that the deceased Navneet Singh was shot at by Delhi police while on a tractor, this video clearly shows that the tractor overturned while trying to break the police barricades. The farm protestors' allegations don't stand. Post mortem awaited."
He had also tweeted his appreciation for the police, saying they showed "great restraint" at Red Fort and ITO.
In his live coverage at 5:47 pm on January 26 for India Today – soon after his tweet was written – Sardesai said, "What we do know is that while the farm protesters that we met insist that the person who died named Navneet Singh was shot at, but the police has provided us with a video that shows very clearly that the tractor overturned."
However, several BJP leaders had demanded that an FIR be filed against Sardesai or he be fired for spreading "fake news".
The anchor has not made a comment on this yet.