The claim comes after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), lead by Mann, won the recently concluded 2022 Punjab Assembly elections.
However, we found that the image showed Mann celebrating Holi with some of his friends. The image was first shared by Punjabi singer and actor Karamjit Anmol on his social media handles.
The image was shared with a caption that read, "यह उस समय का चित्र है जब इन चारों को बाइक चोरी के अपराध में पंजाब पुलिस ने पकड़ लिया था".
[Translation: This is a picture of the time when these four were caught by the Punjab Police for the crime of bike theft.]
We also got the image on our WhatsApp tipline with a text that read, "The one sitting in the middle is present CM of Punjab who was caught in bike robbery in the early 80s. There is a police case and non-bailable arrest warrant against him still pending."
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
The claim said that the photo of Mann was when he was caught in the early 1980s. The Punjab CM was born in 1973, which would mean he would have been around 10 years old in the early 1980s. However, Mann looks much older in the viral image.
We conducted a reverse image search on viral image on Google and found that the photograph was first shared by Punjabi actor, singer and film producer Karamjit Anmol.
Anmol shared the photograph on 18 March with a caption that read, "Holi🎨 memories with Bhagwant Mann and @manjitsidhu". Anmol also shared the photograph on his Instagram page.
Anmol is a childhood friend of Mann's and as per a report in The Wire the two have been friends since 1990. News reports also mention that Anmol had campaigned for Mann. He has also shared old photographs of Mann in the past.
We also went through video interviews in which Anmol was identified as Mann's close friend.
We also checked for police cases against Mann and found that Mann has a chargesheet filed against him in a case of rioting registered in 2020.
Mann and 10 other AAP leaders were booked under IPC Sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offences committed in the prosecution of a common object).
The same is mentioned in his affidavit, which was filed along with his nomination papers for the 2022 Assembly elections. Mann and other AAP leaders were granted anticipatory bail by the court.
A recent update in the case, published in The Tribune, states that Mann had been granted an exemption from physical appearance.
We have reached out to Anmol for a confirmation regarding the viral image and the copy will be updated as and when we receive a response.
Clearly, an old image of Bhagwant Mann was shared by social media users to falsely claim that he was arrested for stealing a bike.
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