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HomeFact CheckAmit Shah Directs ‘Temporary Ban’ On Karnataka BJP MLA Virupakshappa Over Bribery...

Amit Shah Directs ‘Temporary Ban’ On Karnataka BJP MLA Virupakshappa Over Bribery Case? Here’s The Truth Behind Viral Letter

Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Claim
Union Home Minister Amit Shah wrote a letter to BJP President JP Nadda seeking to “temporarily ban” Karnataka MLA Virupakshappa’s membership over an alleged corruption case on him.

Fact
BJP Karnataka Media Coordinator clarified that the letter is “fake.” Such fabricated letters under the name of Amit Shah have surfaced time and again on social media platforms.

A bribery case against a BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa has put the saffron party in a tight spot ahead of the state assembly polls with the opposition seeking immediate arrest of the accused and resignation of CM Bommai. In this context, a letter purportedly written by Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah to party President JP Nadda seeking a “ temporary ban” on Virupakshappa to “divert the media hype” has surfaced on social media platforms. The letter allegedly written by Shah further states, “Shri Prime Minister Modi Ji is also annoyed with Karnataka Leadership due to this incident.” Newschecker found the letter to be fabricated.

Facebook and Twitter users shared the viral letter.

Such posts can be seen here, here and here.

Newschecker also received the letter on our WhatsApp tipline (+91-9999499044) requesting to be fact checked.

Prashanth Madal, son of MLA Virupakshappa, was caught red-handed taking a bribe in his father’s office last week. In the raids that followed, Lokayukta officials  recovered ₹6.1 crore in cash from his Sanjay Nagar residence and ₹2.2 crore from his office. According to Karnataka Lokayukta BS Patil the bribe was intended for the MLA who is also the chairman of Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd (K&SDL). “He demanded ₹81 lakh bribe from a contractor for a deal for raw materials needed to manufacture soap and other detergents. On negotiation, the amount was reduced,” Patil claimed. Virupakshappa has since resigned as the chairman of the K&SDL, and is on the run after being named the prime accused in the corruption case.

Also Read: Amit Shah Claims BJP Resolved Mahadayi River Dispute, But What Are The Facts?

Fact Check/Verification

We began our investigation by looking up keywords “Amit Shah,” “letter,” “JP Nadda,” “Madal Virupakshappa” & “ban” on Google, but did not come across any news report indicating that Shah had written any such letter, seeking “temporarily ban” on Karnataka MLA Madal Virupakshappa over alleged bribery row.

Notably, the few publicly available letters issued by Shah, in the capacity of the Union Home Minister, were written in Hindi, and not English. Such letters can be seen here, here, here and here.  Further, it is unlikely for any politician to use the government’s official letterhead for intra party communication – as seen in the viral letter.

Observations From Viral Letter

On carefully analysing the letter purportedly written by Amit Shah to BJP President JP Nadda, we spotted several issues including grammatical and punctuation errors, inconsistent text font, and alignment issues which are highly unlikely to be found in such official government communications/release/circulars.

  • The font of “Shri Jagat Prakash Nadda” & “Amit Shah” is inconsistent with that seen in the body of the letter.
Karnataka BJP MLA Virupakshappa
  • The alignment of words in the sentences is uneven. The letters in certain words are also not aligned properly. 
  • The sentence “Priority to divert the media hype, temporarily ban MLA Madal Virupakshappa membership…” is syntactically wrong.
  • The word “Leadership” in the first paragraph in the middle of a sentence starts with a capital  “L.”
  • The title “Shri” is usually placed before the name of an individual, and not his designation. The viral letter, however, reads “Shri Prime Minister Modi Ji.”

Yet Again ! Old Template Revived With New Hoax

We found that a visually similar letter allegedly written by Amit Shah to Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami seeking “Z category security to Nupur Sharma” had gone viral last year. The Government’s PIB Fact Check had, however, termed the letter as “fake.”

On comparing that “fake” letter that went viral in 2022 with the recent one, we found them to be visually identical, including the fold lines, a dot near the emblem and a shadow likely of a person clicking a photo of the document- apart from the text.

(L-R) Fake letter that went viral in 2022 | Courtesy : Twitter@AMadumool and viral letter

In 2021, the same template was used to falsely claim that Amit Shah had praised UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s efforts in “handling the situation during the second wave of Covid-19.”

A comparison between the 2021 fake letter and the recent viral image can be seen below.

(L-R) Fake letter that went viral in 2021 | Courtesy : Facebook/sachin.bombale.528 and viral letter

Newschecker further reached out to the Media Coordinator of BJP Karnataka, Karunakar who told us, “This is a fake letter.” “No such letter has been written by Amit Shah for MLA Virupakshappa,” he added.

Conclusion

We could thus conclude that the viral image claiming to show a letter written by Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressing BJP President JP Nadda to take action against the party’s Karnataka MLA Madal Virupakshappa over a recent bribery allegation is false.

Result: False

Our Sources

Tweet By PIB Fact Check, Dated June 7, 2021
Tweet By PIB Fact Check, Dated June 14, 2022
Telephonic Conversation With Karunakar, BJP Media coordinator Karnataka
Self Analysis

(With inputs from Ishwarachandra B G)


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Authors

Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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