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MP Police Registers 4 FIRs After Deepfake Videos Target PM Modi, Kamal Nath

On 17 November, Prime Minister Modi had warned the nation of the issues related to deepfake videos.

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India
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Amidst rising concerns over deepfakes, Madhya Pradesh Police have registered at least four FIRs over manipulated videos featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, and the Congress state president Kamal Nath, among others, in November alone.

However, the suspects remain unknown and at large in all the cases.

Earlier, on Friday, 17 November, after Modi warned the nation of issues related to deepfake videos, a fake video of the prime minister had gone viral, following which an FIR was registered at the Kanadiya police station on the complaint of one Mahendra Patidar, a resident of Indore.

“One line taken out of context can cause tumult,” Modi had said.

"An unknown person created a new video by editing different speeches of Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and posted it on the WhatsApp group Mitra Panel Mitrabandhu Nagar at around 9:20 pm on 17 November. This is an attempt to tarnish the image of the Honourable Prime Minister, and I request you to take strict actions against those guilty."
FIR registered at Kanadiya police station

KP Yadav, Kanadiya police station in-charge, told the media that a WhatsApp user reported a video edited using artificial intelligence (AI) tools to distort PM Modi's speech to allegedly make him look like a 'non-serious leader.'

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In another FIR registered by Indore police's crime branch, Congress spokesperson and complainant, Rakesh Yadav, said that a video of Kamal Nath was edited and circulated to "tarnish his image" before the polling in the state on 17 November.

The video allegedly showed Kamal Nath saying that the Congress, as soon as it forms the government, 'will put a stop to the Ladli Behna scheme' – a cash transfer scheme initiated by the incumbent BJP – and women will stop getting the cash benefit of Rs 1,250 from it.

The FIR registered on Yadav's complaint read: "An attempt has been made to tarnish the image of Shri Kamal Nath by uploading a fake video of one of his rallies due to which there's widespread public anger."

Another FIR was registered against an unknown person accused for disseminating fabricated videos featuring the BJP candidate from Indore-1 and party national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, as well as the Congress candidate from Indore-5, Satyanarayan Patel.

The leaders have alleged that these videos were strategically circulated before elections to tarnish their images.

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Cases Registered, Police Lacks Deepfake Detection Tech

In another FIR registered on Sunday, 26 November, on the complaint of another Indore resident, Amit Gupta, the police have booked the unknown accused under Sections 500 (which deals with punishment for defamation) and 509 (word, gesture, or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as relevant sections of the Information Technology (IT) Act for the creation and circulation of deepfake videos of former chief minister and sitting Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh, as well as Kailash Vijayvargiya.

Nimish Agarwal, DCP Crime branch, Indore, told the media that the police have initiated multiple investigations into cases of deepfake videos, probing into the individuals behind their creation and dissemination.

"We have registered multiple FIRs against unknown accused persons and are probing into the matter of deepfake videos. We are hopeful that the culprits will be apprehended swiftly by the police."
Nimish Agarwal

Another crime branch official said that the gang making deepfakes is active on the darknet.

"Those involved in the creation of deepfake videos are charging up to Rs 1 lakh for a one-minute-long video. This work is done at two levels. It is prepared with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Currently, we are lagging behind in the software to detect deepfake videos. However, we are working on it by comparing them with the original videos."
Nimish Agarwal

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