The Delhi Police on October 31, 2022 conducted searches at the residences of editors of the news portal The Wire in connection with a first information report (FIR) lodged against the organisation for “defaming” BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya through a series of now-retracted stories on Meta, the parent company of Facebook, officers said.
Special Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Singh Yadav confirmed to The Hindu that raids were under way at the residences of founding editors of The Wire Siddharth Varadarajan, M.K. Venu and Sidharth Bhatia and deputy news editor Jahnavi Sen.
A senior police officer said mobile phones and other electronic devices required for the investigation had been seized from them, and that they would be questioned in connection with the contents in the devices.
The Crime Branch team also searched the office of The Wire and seized relevant devices.
The development comes a day after an FIR was lodged against the news portal on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr. Malviya, who alleged that the portal published a “fabricated” news story in which it was alleged that Mr. Malviya had special privileges given to him by Meta to take down social media posts.
The Wire later retracted the stories and issued a public apology. The case was lodged against them under sections pertaining to cheating and forgery of the Indian Penal Code.
Delhi Police PRO Suman Nalwa said that investigation in the case was ongoing and no arrests had been made so far.
The Wire, on October 29, also filed a complaint against one of its former consultant, Devesh Kumar, for allegedly providing them fake documents and emails for the series of stories on Meta. The portal alleged that Mr. Kumar had “malintent” towards the organisation.
No FIR has been lodged in the case so far. Special Commissioner of Police Ravindra Yadav said on Sunday that the matter was being probed.