‘Minions’ Muzzling Those Reporting Rafale Deal: Rahul on ABP Row

“Thanks to ABP News, the MODUS OPERANDI of the minions is in the open,” Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

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Rahul Gandhi alleges Centre’s attempt to muzzle media on reporting of Rafale aircraft deal.

Following the row over departure of two journalists from ABP News Network — Managing Editor Milind Khandekar and journalist Punya Prasun Bajpai, Congress president Rahul Gandhi continued his verbal attack on the BJP-led central government over alleged misuse of power to muzzle the media.

“The Supreme Leader’s minions have been trying to silence those reporting on #RafaleScam. Thanks to ABP News, the MODUS OPERANDI of the minions is in the open,” Gandhi wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, 7 August.

The Congress has, on a number of occasions, alleged irregularities in purchase of 36 Rafale jets from France’s Dassault Aviation.

“Threats. Channel Blackouts. Sackings. Advertising cuts. Anything to prevent the truth being told,” Rahul wrote in his jibe over alleged government interference in the functioning of the ABP network's newsroom.

The resignation of Khandekar and Bajpai came days after Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Rajyavardhan Rathore tweeted against ABP News with the hashtag #UnfortunateJournalism, criticising a story that was critical of the Modi government.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had also raised the issue in the Lok Sabha last week, accusing the government of trying to "intimidate" the media and "curbing" its freedom.

Strongly denying the charges, Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said the government has nothing to do with the internal developments in the channel.

The Background

ABP News carried out a "reality check" on a Chhattisgarh woman farmer's claim during an interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that her farm income had doubled.

Days after the woman, Chandramani Kaushik from Chhattisgarh's Kanker district, made the claim, the channel aired a story in its primetime show, Masterstroke, in which she admitted that officials had tutored her.

The Congress president had even tweeted an excerpt from the show.

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