On Thursday, an FIR was registered against the Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district, in connection with her tweets on Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM Cares Fund).
Advocate KV Praveen filed a complaint at the Sagar Town police station saying that the party has allegedly spread rumors and misled the public with regards to the fund, following which a preliminary inquiry was initiated and the FIR was registered. The complainant has alleged that on 11th May, Congress had posted false and baseless information regarding PM-CARES Fund, on its Twitter handle and demanded legal action against Sonia Gandhi and Congress workers involved in handling the Twitter account.
“A Twitter account handled by All India Congress Committee headed by Sonia Gandhi had on 11th May 2020, published tweets terming PM CARES Fund as PM CARES Fraud. They had claimed that the PM CARES fund is not being used for the public,” the complainant Praveen KV stated to the sources. “They had also said that the Prime Minister was enjoying and going to foreign trips with this fund. This is clearly rumourous news against the Government of India in this COVID-19 pandemic situation. In this regard, I had filed a complaint. After a primary inquiry, the Sagar Police has filed an FIR against Sonia Gandhi, who heads the INC Twitter account,” he added.
According to the officials, a case was been registered against Gandhi under Sections 153 and 505 (1)(B) of the Indian Penal Code, which relates to wantonly provoking people and inciting them to commit an offense against any other class or community.
As per sources, soon after an FIR was filed against Congress president, the Congress leadership in Karnataka dubbed the complaint as “mischievous” and demanded the BJP-led state government to withdraw the same. The Congress party alleged that the complaint had a political motive to cause unrest in the country. In his letter to the state Chief Minister Yediyurappa, Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar demanded that the FIR be withdrawn and the police officer who registered a case against Sonia Gandhi be suspended ‘for misusing the process of law in the interest of justice and equity’.
According to the party leaders, the tweets were intended to force the Prime Minister to use the PM CARES fund for the welfare of the people. “Unfortunately, this was misinterpreted by the BJP leadership and it has instigated Praveen Kumar (complainant) to file the complaint against Sonia Gandhi, based on false information and without examining its truthfulness,” read a letter written to the state Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress spokesperson Subhash Agarwal condemned FIR and said “It is the role and responsibility of the opposition to question the government. Democracy will die if the opposition’s voice is muzzled.” He also said the party had always maintained that there was no need for the PM-CARES Fund when the PM Relief Fund already existed.
PM Narendra Modi announced the formation of PM CARES Fund following the coronavirus outbreak in the country. It was intended for rendering financial assistance, provide grants of payments of money or take such other steps as may be deemed necessary by the Board of Trustees to the affected population.