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CPM leader Prakash Karat, BJP go to police over Derek O’Brien and morphed photo

The complaint has been filed against Mamata Banerjee, Subrata Bakshi and Derek O'Brien.

Written by Manoj C G , Aniruddha Ghosal | Kolkata/new Delhi |
Updated: April 25, 2016 2:27:39 am
The original and morphed photos The original and morphed photos

CPM leader Prakash Karat and the BJP approached the police separately Sunday after the Trinamool Congress website had displayed a morphed photograph, since removed, showing Karat being offered a laddoo by BJP Union Minister Rajnath Singh. The original photograph had Singh offering a laddoo to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Karat approached the Delhi police seeking to register an FIR against Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, who had shown the morphed picture at a press conference. O’Brien has since posted on Facebook that he has realised the picture was a mistake and got it removed.

In Kolkata, the BJP lodged a police complaint against Mamata Banerjee, Subrata Bakshi and O’Brien and demanded their arrest. BJP spokesperson Joy Prakash Majumdar, along with party members, met joint commissioner (crime) Debashish Boral and lodged a complaint. The BJP alleged that the press conference by O’Brien Saturday had been held at the behest of Mamata.

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Karat wrote to the DCP of the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi police seeking a probe. “I wish to launch a complaint against Derek O’Brien, leader of the Trinamool Congress and member of the Rajya Sabha. He has, in a press conference held in Kolkata on April 23, 2016, displayed a picture of Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister, and myself,” Karat wrote. “In this purported picture, Rajnath Singh is seen feeding me a sweet. This picture was displayed in many TV channels in Kolkata. The photograph displayed was a morphed one and it was put up on the website of the Trinamool Congress… Derek O’Brien displayed this picture to make unfounded allegations and politically defame me and bring me into disrepute with the people. I… request you to register an FIR and proceed against Derek O’Brien under the relevant clauses of the relevant law.”

Karat told The Indian Express, “It was a fabricated picture which was meant to show the party and myself in a politically defamatory light and to bring disrepute among the people. Rajnath is one of those BJP leaders whom I have never met personally.”

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said he would raise the issue in Parliament. Left Front chairman Biman Bose cited the arrest of Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra four years earlier for forwarding on social media a cartoon of Mamata. “If Prof Mohapatra (also a Left-and-Congress-backed independent candidate) could be arrested for circulating a cartoon, here Derek O’Brien has morphed a photograph. Why should he not be arrested?”

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