Delhi Police Summons Journo Over ‘Tablighi FIR Fake Audio’ Report

TIE had reported Delhi police’s probe into FIR against Tablighi Jamaat chief indicated that his audio was doctored.

Updated
India
3 min read
TIE had reported Delhi police’s probe into FIR against Tablighi Jamaat chief indicated that his audio was doctored.
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After The Indian Express published a story on 10 May alleging that the Delhi police’s probe into the FIR against Tablighi Jamaat head Maulana Saad indicated that his audio mentioned in the FIR was doctored, Delhi Police not only called the report ‘factually incorrect’ but also summoned the reporter who wrote the story.

A notice was sent by Delhi Police to the City Editor and Chief Reporter and contained directions for the newspapers Special Correspondent Mahender Singh Manral to appear on 11 May.

Here’s the chronological sequence of events that led to the summoning.

The Indian Express Report on the Tablighi Jamaat FIR

Published on 10 May, the report titled Tablighi FIR: Police probe indicates Saad audio clip was doctored detailed how initial investigation by the Delhi Police Crime Branch has found out that the audio clip attributed to Maulana Saad Kandhalvi maybe “doctored” and stitched together using several audio files.

This audio note, attributed to Maulana Saad, allegedly asked Tablighi Jamaat members to not follow social distancing norms and prohibitory orders.

The FIR stated that “an audio recording purportedly by Maulana Mohd Saad was found in circulation on WhatsApp on 21 March, in which the speaker was heard asking his followers to defy the lockdown and social distancing, and to attend the religious gathering of the Markaz”.

The report went on to say how highly placed sources told The Indian Express reporter that the police had recovered a laptop from the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters which was used to put out audio files. “After scanning them, police found there are over 350 audio clips in three forms — raw clips of Markaz events; audio clips sent to their followers; and ones uploaded on their YouTube channel,” a source told The Indian Express.

Delhi Police Calls The Indian Express Report ‘Factually Incorrect’

The Delhi Police took note of this report on social media and issued the following statement:

“The report has claimed that the Crime Branch investigation has found that the audio clip mentioned in the police FIR against Markaz Nizamuddin head Maulana Saad Kandhalvi in which he had asked Tablighi Jamaat members not to follow social distancing norms and prohibitory orders is doctored.

The claims made by the reporter regarding the investigation are strongly rebutted. The news is not only factually incorrect but seems to be based on wholly unverified sources and purely conjectural imagination. The Delhi Police does not in any way stand by the story of the reporter.”

The Indian Express ‘Stands By Their Report’

Responding to the Delhi Police, The Indian Express said: “The report is based on conversations with sources and officials aware of the probe against Maulana Saad. Before publication, calls were made to Special CP (Crime) Praveer Ranjan Friday. Also, a message was sent to him seeking his comments on the key points made in the report. No response was received.”

Report Which Mentioned Tablighi Leaders ‘Fake Audio’ Pulled Down

A report by a Union Home Ministry think tank called Bureau of Police Research and Development which was supposed to be a guide to spot and investigate fake news was uploaded on 10 May.

A reference to the Tablighi Jamaat head Maulana Saad’s audio is on page ten under the headline “Fake news and disinformation vectors.” Incidentally, this report was taken down within a day of it being posted online.

(The Quint has reached out to the chief editor of The Indian Express and the Delhi Police. This report will be updated if and when we get a response)

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