By: Rohith Gutta
September 13 2023
This is a morphed image of the front page. The original report condemned the manner in which the former Andhra Pradesh chief minister was arrested.
Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and the National President of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) N. Chandrababu Naidu was arrested in connection with alleged funds misappropriation from the Skill Development Corporation during his tenure between 2014 and 2019. According to a report in The Hindu from September 10, he was sent to judicial remand for 14 days by an Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Court in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.
What is the claim?
Photo circulating online are claiming to show Telugu daily Eenadu's front page which says the scam is worth Rs. 371 crores and the police arrested Naidu even as he was “feigning ignorance when questioned." The image claims to add that the Crime Investigation Department (CID) has all the evidence pertaining to the scam and Naidu’s alleged role.
A Facebook user shared the photo with the caption, “Dramoji carried the news well. He has been shitting in his pants since yesterday. He understood that he is the next target. He is very much afraid of Jagan (Translated from Telugu).” An archive of the post can be found here.
‘Dramoji’ is a derogatory reference to C Ramojirao, the founder and owner of Eenadu newspaper and ETV network of channels. Jagan refers to YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the current Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and President of the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).
Screenshots of the post on Facebook and WhatsApp (Source: Facebook/WhatsApp/Modified by Logically Facts)
Eenadu has routinely published pro-TDP and anti-YSRCP stories, Hindustan Times has earlier reported. The user intends to convey that even a pro-TDP newspaper is now claiming that Naidu is involved in the scam proving his guilt. The title translates to, “Chandrababu’s arrest in skill scam.” The main pointers include: “Funds siphoned off in the name of skill development”, “CID arrested with full evidence”, and “Babu feigning ignorance with SIT,” among others.
However, Eenadu did not publish any such report, nor did it proclaim Naidu as guilty. The image used in the post is morphed.
What did we find?
Looking closely at the image, we identified many errors in Telugu in the purported article. The spelling of Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the main points section in Telugu is wrong in the image. Similarly, it is written that the police remanded Naidu to custody in one of the main points. However, a court remands an accused to custody, and in this case, an ACB court in Vijayawada remanded Naidu to judicial custody. The main text of the article, too, is filled with sentences that are not coherent.
We observed the details of the paper, such as the edition, date, number of pages, and price on the image. It claims to show the Vijayawada edition dated September 10. The number of pages is listed as 16, and the price is Rs. 6.50. We looked for the paper's Vijayawada edition from the same day - the price of the daily edition on September 10 was Rs. 8, the number of pages was 18+28, which is 46 pages.
The original epaper did not have such a large image of Naidu on it, but had an article that contained a small photograph. The original edition had the first page divided into two sections. In addition to the news on Naidu’s arrest and the following protests, the first page also had coverage of the G20 Summit held in New Delhi.
Front page of the original Eenadu paper on September 10, 2023. (Source: Screenshot/Eenadu paper)
As seen in the above screenshot of the front page, the original editing had an article on the left which was headlined, “Jagan’s Saddistic Happiness (translated from Telugu)."
Meanwhile, the article on the right was headlined “Lawless arrest." The subheading in violet, translates to, “An attack by hundreds of police personnel.” The report alleges police high-handedness in Naidu's arrest. The image used is that of Naidu in the inset and a convoy surrounded by people as the main image. All 29 editions of Eenadu had the same front page with the same headlines and photos condemning the arrest. It made no mention of whether Naidu was guilty and whether the investigation team had any evidence against him.
A digitally altered image of the front page of Eenadu newspaper was used to claim that it carried a report claiming Naidu is guilty in the skill development funds scam. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.