Toolkit row: Delhi Police interrogated Twitter India MD in Bengaluru, say sources


Manish Maheshwari, Twitter India MD, was questioned by the Delhi Police in Bengaluru over the Congress toolkit case, according to sources. Delhi Police’s special cell visited Bengaluru on May 31 and questioned the India head of the social media giant over BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra’s tweet being tagged as “manipulated media”, as per media reports.

On May 24, the Delhi police had visited the Twitter office in south Delhi and Gurgaon in search of senior Twitter officials. According to The Times of India, a team led by DCP Pramod Kushwaha made the trip to Bengaluru after Twitter India MD Maheshwari wrote to them, seeking time to appear before the police because of the ongoing pandemic. Maheshwari, media reports say, had said he was ready to join the probe in Bengaluru, if possible.

Sambit Patra had in a tweet alleged that the Congress had prepared a toolkit to target the government over its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Twitter later tagged Sambit Patra’s tweet as “manipulated media”. The micro-blogging site was asked why it had labelled Patra’s tweets so. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had objected to the tag and had asked Twitter to remove it as the matter was pending investigation before a law enforcement agency.

On May 27, the Delhi Police called Twitter’s conduct “obfuscatory, diversionary and tendentious. According to police, Twitter’s statements were not only mendacious but designed to impede a lawful inquiry by a private enterprise. As reported by the The Times of India, the statement said, “Twitter has taken upon itself, in the garb of terms of service, to adjudicate the truth or otherwise of documents in public space. Twitter is purporting to be both an investigating authority as well as an adjudicating judicial authority. It has no legal sanction to be either.”

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