No, viral image of man lying on a pile of cash does not show chief of BJP Assam ally Pramod Boro

By: Chandan Borgohain
March 29 2024

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No, viral image of man lying on a pile of cash does not show chief of BJP Assam ally Pramod Boro

Social media posts falsely claim to show UPPL chief Pramod Boro lying on a pile of cash. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts


The Verdict False

The person in the photo is Benjamin Basumatary and not Pramod Boro. The UPPL claims Basumatary was suspended from the party in January this year.

Claim ID 891d053b

What is the claim?

As India gears for the upcoming general elections starting April 19, the social media landscape in the country has become rife with unverified images and videos intended to spread political mis/disinformation. 

One such widely circulated photo shows a shirtless man lying on a bed with stacks of Rs 500 currency notes strewn over and around him. Sharing the photo on social media, several users claimed that the photo shows Pramod Boro, president of United People's Party Liberal (UPPL)—an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam. Boro serves as the Chief Executive Member of the Bodoland Territorial Council of Assam. 

Sharing the photo on X, a fan account of Trinamool Congress leader and former parliamentarian Mahua Moitra, which has been known to share misinformation, wrote, "BJP's #Assam alliance partner UPPL led by BTR's Pramod Boro was found sleeping on stacks of Rs 500 currency notes. But @dir_ed will not raid at his residence. #NDA #Modi." This post (archived here) has gained over 18,000 views and 681 reshares at the time of publishing. Archived versions of similar such claims can be viewed here and here.

Screenshot of an X post sharing the viral photo. (Source: X/Screenshot)

However, this man in the photo is not Pramod Boro. The person in the photo is Benjamin Basumatary, who UPPL claims was suspended from the party in early January.

Who is the person in the photo?

A reverse image search led us to several reports that identified the person in the photo as Benjamin Basumatary, reportedly a former member of the UPPL. According to the regional daily Assam Tribune, Basumatary also served as the chairman of the Village Council Development Committee (VCDC) in Bhairaguri in Assam's Udalguri district, but was later removed from his post over "accusations of soliciting bribes from beneficiaries."

UPPL also issued a clarification on X (archived here) on March 27, stating that the man in the photo was Basumatary, who was formerly associated with the party.

A comparison between the viral photo with photographs of Boro and Basumatary clearly shows that the person in the viral photo is the latter.

A comparison of the viral photo with an image of Pramod Boro and Benjamin Basumatary. (Source: The Hindu/X/Pratidin Time)

What has Basumatary said about the controversy?

While Basumatary has admitted that the photo in question does show him, he claims it is being shared to defame him.

A video report by Pratidin Time, an Assamese satellite news channel, features an interview with Basumatary, wherein he claims that the photo is five years old. Speaking to the camera in Assamese, Benjamin says that sharing the photo in question is part of a "political conspiracy" against him, and the same picture was used earlier as well to "blackmail and defame" him.

What has Boro said about the viral photo?

Soon after the viral photo garnered widespread attention on social media, Boro also issued a post on X (archived here) stating that Basumatary is no longer associated with UPPL. He also shared party communication letters, all dated January 2024, noting that Basumatary had been suspended from the party on January 10 on grounds of corruption and misuse of funds as the chairman of Bhairaguri VCDC.

In another X post (archived here), Boro shared screenshots of two X posts, purportedly shared by @INC_Television and @INCKerala, wherein the latter attributed the viral photo to the UPPL chief. Sharing these posts, Boro wrote that he had filed a complaint with the Election Commission of Assam "to take strict action against Congress & their fake news social media pages" for falsely linking him to the photo. We could not independently ascertain the legitimacy of these screenshots.

"First of all, I am shocked by the attitude of the Congress. They have taken my name as the party president of UPPL with a picture. They made this fabricated news for their political mileage," Boro also told news agency PTI in an interview.  

The verdict

The viral photo shows Benjamin Basumatary, a former member of Assam's UPPL party. A section of social media users have shared the image to claim incorrectly that the picture features Pramod Boro, the current chief of the UPPL, a BJP ally. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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