Bilaspur: Chhattisgarh police have registered a case under the Epidemic Diseases Act and IPC provisions against a Hindi News Channel and a news portal for allegedly carrying a ‘fake news’ pertaining to state procuring rapid test kits for testing Coronavirus.
The FIR No.0273 was lodged at the Civil Lines police station Bilaspur on Tuesday night on two separate complaints which alleged that both the media organisations have published a ‘fake news’ claiming that the Health department is procuring rapid test kits from a firm “SD Biosensor”, which has been disqualified by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
The police have registered the FIR under Section 188 of IPC for Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, section 505(1) of IPC for statements conducing public mischief and Section 3 of The Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 against television channel News18 MP/Chhattisgarh and news portal “News Today Chhattisgarh”—without naming anyone.
After these media outlets published news pertaining to procurement of rapid test kits, the chief medical officer submitted an application to the police station stating that one Pankaj Singh had written a letter to him stating that web news portal News Today Chhattisgarh had published a fake news claiming that peoples’ lives are at risk due to procurement of these rapid test kits. The complaint said that circulation of such fake news, particularly at the time of a pandemic, would mislead the people thereby disturbing peace.
The complaint against the news channel, filed by one Ashish Awasthy, also the TV channel flashed this news, which is completely fake and hence legal action must be taken against all concerned. The complainants have also pointed out that there were clear guidelines that any news pertaining to the pandemic corona has to be verified properly before publishing.
Chhattisgarh Health department had placed order to procure 75,000 rapid testing kits to test corona to a South Korean firm for purchasing at a price of Rs 337 plus taxes per kit, which is the lowest price at which many state governments procured similar kits. After the tender was finalised, Chhattisgarh health minister TS Singhdeo tweeted declaring that his state had purchased 75000 rapid testing kits from a South Korean firm at a price of Rs 337 plus taxes.
His tweet sparked a row in Andhra Pradesh after it turned out that the AP government had paid twice as much for the testing kits than its neighbour. Furious, the AP government, which had placed the order on April 7, told the company to match Chhattisgarh’s price. AP government had also placed an order with the supplier, SD Biosensors Pvt Ltd, Korea, for two lakh rapid test kits.
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