Edited newspaper clip shared to claim Andhra Pradesh politician was caught in a robbery attempt

By: Rohith Gutta
February 28 2024

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Edited newspaper clip shared to claim Andhra Pradesh politician was caught in a robbery attempt

Screenshot of the viral newspaper clip claiming that a TDP-JSP candidate was caught stealing from a home in Tamil Nadu.(Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

A newspaper report has been edited to replace the accused's name, and digitally add the name of the TDP-JSP candidate ‘Mahasena’ Rajesh.

Claim ID f60db6f2

What is the claim?

A purported screenshot of a news article from the Telugu newspaper Andhrajyothy, with a photo of Saripella Rajesh, popularly called 'Mahasena' Rajesh,—a political leader from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh—is circulating on social media with the claim that he was caught red-handed while attempting to steal from a house in Tamil Nadu. 

The gist of the viral article is that a man entered a home in a village in Kanyakumari district intending to steal. However, he could not find money or jewelry and decided to leave. The report further states that as he was leaving, he smelled fish curry, went to the kitchen, consumed the curry, and went to sleep on the house's terrace, only to be caught by the owner the next day. The last sentence of the purported article alleges that Saripella Rajesh was the thief the owner caught. Archived versions of posts sharing the purported article can be seen here, here, and here.

Viral social media posts sharing the purported news report. (Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)

The viral claims come weeks before the upcoming assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh. Rajesh, a Dalit politician, is contesting the polls on a Telugu Dasam Party (TDP)-Jana Sena Party (JSP) ticket. TDP and JSP have joined hands ahead of the polls to usurp the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) from power.

Logically Facts found that the photo of a genuine newspaper report has been edited to make the viral false claim about Rajesh. 

How did we verify this?

A closer look at the viral news report reveals that the font of its last two lines, which mention Saripella Rajesh as the alleged thief, is a little different from the font used in the rest of the article. The font in the last two lines appears slightly bigger, brighter, and somewhat slanted as compared to the rest of the article, indicating that a portion of a newspaper report was manipulated.

Discrepancies in the font used for the last two lines in the purported article. (Source: X)

We then looked for the original news report using the relevant keywords. Andhrajyothy published the report on the attempted theft on June 16, 2020. The content of the article is the same as the above, barring the last two lines. The report identified a man called Satish (single name) as the person accused of the attempted theft. The report also mentions that the CCTV camera captured the robbery attempt in the house, and the alleged thief was identified using the footage.

Samayam, a Telugu news website, reported the incident on June 16, 2020. It corroborates the details. This report, too, identified the accused as Satish, along with a photo of him from the CCTV footage. An ETV Bharat report from June 17, 2020, quoted police officials that the accused, Satish, is from Nedumkadu in Thiruvananthapuram district in Kerala.

Image of the person accused of the attempted robbery in Tamil Nadu. (Source: ETV Bharat/Screenshot)

It is evident from these media reports that the person accused of attempted robbery in the Kanniyakumari incident is not 'Mahasena' Rajesh.

The verdict

An edited news clip is shared to claim that a TDP-JSP candidate, Saripella Rajesh, was caught while attempting to steal from a house in Tamil Nadu. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false. 

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