Former Infosys director Mohandas Pai has earned quite a notoriety as a fanboy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on social media in the last few years. He appears to spend more time on promoting the violent right-wing Hindutva ideology on Twitter than positively influencing his followers by drawing from his past experiences as someone who’s worked at a fairly senior position in one of India’s most successful IT companies.
Such is his love for Modi and the RSS that on Monday, Pai resorted to fake news in a bid to defame a political rival of the BJP, the Congress party. Sharing a link of a fake website bbcnewshub.com, Mohandas Pai wrote, “Shocking list. One Indian political party included.”
He was referring to the Congress party since the fake website had listed it in the world’s top ten most corrupt parties category. The list by the fake website in question had included the Congress as the second most corrupt party along with outfits like the Nazi Party, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and National Fascist Party among others.
Pai’s attempt to peddle fake news angered several journalists, who instantly called out his lie. But he remained unfazed and continued to justify his act. When journalist Swati Chaturvedi wrote that the former Infosys executive had ‘just “met” a fake news site,’ he launched a personal attack against her calling her names.
He remained stubborn even when a BBC employee pointed out that Pai was sharing a link from a parody website. BBC journalist Trushar Barot wrote, “Hi Mohandas, I work at the BBC. Please can you delete your original tweet? Otherwise it will continue to spread, which I’m sure is not your intention.”
To which Pai replied without any sense of remorse, “Why don’t you officially deny this and say that you have nothing to do with the address? It is your responsibility to look after your brand! Even you publish wrong news and people protest you just do not care too.”
Pai’s wish was granted as the BBC Press team soon issued an official statement leaving the former red-faced. This perhaps led him to delete his embarrassing tweet. The tweet by BBC News Press Team read, “To be clear, as @timesofindia points out, ‘BBC News Hub’ is not a BBC site. It is an imitation site which is not in any way affiliated to the #BBC http://toi.in/hhXdVY/a24gk #india”
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) September 17, 2018
Several users detected mischief in Pai’s action since bbcnewshub’s fake story had created similar confusion last year in March. Several fact-check websites had established that the news being propagated by bbcnewshub was fake.
The same website had earlier this year also stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the 7th most corrupt prime minister in the world. One hopes that Pai has learnt his lesson and will desist from sharing such fake stories in future to avoid embarrassment for himself.
Experts believe that the foot soldiers of PM Modi will attempt to share more similar fake stories in future, at least, until the next year’s Lok Sabha polls to influence voters. Modi and his party have often been accused of resorting to lies and fake news to extract the much-needed electoral advantages.