‘AI-generated, fake’: Experts on viral audio clip of Indian YouTuber, AAP MP Swati Maliwal

‘AI-generated, fake’: Experts on viral audio clip of Indian YouTuber, AAP MP Swati Maliwal

By: rahul adhikari&
May 30 2024

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‘AI-generated, fake’: Experts on viral audio clip of Indian YouTuber, AAP MP Swati Maliwal

An audio clip of a purported call recording between Indian YouTuber Dhruv Rathee and AAP MP Swati Maliwal has been going viral on social media. (Source: Screenshot/X/Modified by Logically Facts)

A purported audio clip of a call recording between Indian YouTuber and vlogger Dhruv Rathee and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Swati Maliwal is AI-generated, experts say.  

The viral clip gained attention after Maliwal alleged that AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s aide, Bibhav Kumar, had assaulted her inside the chief minister’s residence on May 13, 2024. 

In the audio clip, Rathee purportedly asks Maliwal about the identity of her assailant. Maliwal alleges that she was attacked in front of Kejriwal and his wife, Sunita. Rathee then mentions that AAP requested him to create a video about the incident. In response, Maliwal asserts that there is no need to defend them and warns Rathee twice that they will “trap him too.” Towards the end of the clip, the voices purportedly belonging to Maliwal and Rathee discuss payments.

However, upon closer examination, several inconsistencies could be detected, leading to suspicions about the clip's authenticity. Additionally, experts and available tools have labeled the clip as fake. 


Screenshots of the viral posts. (Source: X/Screenshot)

Glaring discrepancies

While the voices in the viral clip closely resembled Maliwal and Rathee’s, there was a certain robotic quality and a lack of natural pauses between sentences—characteristics not typical of genuine human-to-human conversations.

At the 0:09 mark, where Maliwal allegedly states that she was assaulted in the presence of both Arvind and Sunita Kejriwal, the sentences sound unnatural. Furthermore, at the 0:07-second mark, Rathee’s voice unnaturally repeats “Arvind” twice.

These observations suggest that the audio recording could be generated using artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

‘Significant signs of AI manipulation,’ say experts

The clip was analyzed using Itisaar, a deepfake detection tool developed by IIT Jodhpur, and verified by Mayank Vatsa, a professor at the institute's Department of Computer Science & Engineering. He is also a member of the Shakti Collective’s Synthetic Media and Deepfakes Advisory Council. The tool confirmed with a high level of confidence that the audio is AI-generated and conclusively fake.

Witness, an international nonprofit organization that works with video and technology and is also a member of the Shakti Collective, also verified the voice clone. Using DeepMedia’s detectors, they identified significant signs of AI manipulation throughout the audio. “There exist large spikes in the detection score in multiple locations throughout the video, which provides significant evidence that AI manipulation in some form is present,” the Witness team noted.

This evidence proves that the viral conversation is synthetic and not an authentic exchange between Maliwal and Rathee. Logically Facts has previously debunked several audio clips that used AI voice clones to spread false narratives during the ongoing Indian general election.

The Swati Maliwal case so far

In May, Maliwal filed a complaint with the Delhi Police, alleging that Kumar assaulted her inside the chief minister’s residence without provocation when she went to meet Kejriwal. Subsequently, the police filed an FIR against Kumar on charges of attempted culpable homicide, assault with intent to disrobe, wrongful restraint, criminal intimidation, and insulting the modesty of a woman.

In response, Kumar filed a complaint accusing Maliwal of unauthorized entry and threats on May 13, hinting at possible political motives behind the accusations. Delhi Police arrested Kumar on May 18, during a court hearing related to his request for anticipatory bail. On May 29, Kumar moved the Delhi High Court, seeking compensation for his “illegal” arrest.

Amid the controversy over the alleged assault, on May 22, Rathee published a video (archive here) questioning the veracity of Maliwal’s complaint.

In response, Maliwal alleged in an X (formerly Twitter) post that Rathee’s video was “one-sided.” She further revealed that she received rape and death threats after what she described as a “character assassination” campaign orchestrated by party leaders and volunteers.

Maliwal also claimed that the situation worsened following Rathee’s video, and she attempted to reach out to the YouTuber, but her calls went unanswered.

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