“Confusion and inconvenience caused is regretted”: India Today’s Rahul Kanwal retracts allegations after Shiv Sena writes angry letter to Aroon Purie


India Today anchor Rahul Kanwal has been forced to withdraw his allegations against the Shiv Sena after the ruling party of the Maharashtra government sent an angry letter to Aroon Purie, the founder of the TV group.

Kanwal tweeted on Monday, “Yesterday while anchoring I had spoken about a video of a leader threatening Serum Institute. The video was issued by Raju Shetty who is leader of Swabhimani Shektari Sanghatana (SSS) and not a leader of the Shiv Sena (SS). The confusion and inconvenience caused is regretted.”

During a LIVE broadcast on 2 May, Kanwal had sensationally alleged ‘Shiv Sena hoodlums’ for issuing threats to Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla. Kanwal had said, “..And I actually saw this. He (Poonawalla) sent me some videos of some Shiv Sena local hoodlums showing up outside his factor giving him the choicest of galis (abuses)…This is bizarre.”

After the Shiv Sena shot off a scathing letter to his boss, Kanwal tweeted saying that the video had, in fact, been ‘issued’ by Raju Shetty. In his LIVE broadcast, the anchor had claimed to have received the video from Poonawalla.

The Shiv Sena, in their letter to Purie, had said, “I write to you with regards to a fake news being peddled by a senior achor from your news channel. Rahul Kanwal, on his show today claiming “Sena goons” threatened Adar Poonawala for vaccines. This news is absolutely untrue and defamatory.”

Reacting to Kanwal’s retraction, filmmaker Hansal Mehta tweeted, “Apparently Rahul Kanwal has retracted his earlier claim that a Shiv Sena leader threatened Aadar Poonawala. How many know about this retraction? Shouldn’t there be an official apology from @IndiaToday?”

Actor Sophie Choudry wrote, “Wow. You would think a senior “journalist” such as yourself would verify the facts.. or is it so easy to get confused? How about we try reporting the truth about what’s happening right now. That would be nice for a change.”

Poonawalla had told London’s The Times newspaper that he was facing threats from India’s rich and powerful on vaccine allocations. He had also refused to comment on the congregation of millions of Hindus and recent election rallies amidst a raging pandemic saying that his head would be chopped off if he chose to react to those events.