On Wednesday, social media platforms were abuzz with a sensational story of UAE authorities reportedly freezing properties worth Rs 15,000 crore belonging to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
The original source of the story was Zee News, which quoted ‘a report’ to claim that the UAE government had seized the ‘fugitive underworld don’s assets worth Rs 15,000 crore.’
Astonishingly, Zee News quoted ‘Zee Media’ stating that “Dawood has several properties, including hotels and shares in top rung companies in UAE.”
The Zee report had further claimed that the list of Dawood’s properties was provided to the ‘UAE authorities when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, visited UAE last year.’
“The Government of India had then requested the UAE government to seize the properties belonging to Dawood and his crime syndicate,” the report further claimed.
The story gained considerable importance after the BJP tweeted making similar claims on Wednesday night. Terming the ‘development’ a masterstroke by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, its tweet said, “Major diplomatic success of PM Modi: One of India’s most wanted criminals, Dawood Ibrahim’s properties worth Rs. 15,000 crore seized in UAE.”
The point to remember here is that while Zee News published the report at 00.35 hours on Wednesday, BJP’s tweet was posted almost 22 hours later.
Major diplomatic success of PM Modi: One of India's most wanted criminals, Dawood Ibrahim's properties worth Rs. 15,000 crore seized in UAE. pic.twitter.com/MMERwLoPO1
— BJP (@BJP4India) January 4, 2017
Most media outlets including Janta Ka Reporter had carried the news attributing the claims to BJP’S official tweet.
What’s suspicious here is the absence of any statement from either the Ministry of Home Affairs or the Ministry of External Affairs.
Since suspecting foul play, Janta Ka Reporter has removed its story. Also falling for what appears to have been carefully crafted misinformation to gain considerable electoral mileage ahead of assembly polls, were several other media outlets.
Bangalore Mirror too has pulled down the story suspecting foul play.
In November last year, Zee News had become a subject of social media ridicule after it claimed that the new Rs 2,000 notes will have special chip, which will inform the tax authorities about their location even when buried 120 feet below the surface,
(Janta Ka Reporter will employ extra care in publishing controversial claims made by political parties in future.)