An alleged cutting of the ‘Times Business’ page of ‘The Times of India’ (Chennai edition) is viral on social media. It is written on the page that the government has incurred a loss of 2.8 lakh crores in the auction of the 5G spectrum. Furthermore, the number ‘2800000000000000’ is written in the headline to display the loss. Several social media users, leaders and accounts associated with the Congress party shared it as the ‘5G scam’ of the BJP.
Writer Ashok Kumar Pandey tweeted the cutting of the newspaper and wrote, “Count the zeros and tell me, in how many days will the ED raid on The Times?” ( )
Congress leader Pankhuri Pathak also tweeted the picture and called it the ‘5G scam.’ ()
RLD leader and former journalist Prashant Kanojia also made the same claim. ()
This cutting of the newspaper was tweeted by many social media users including, , , , , Congress leader , and DMK leader .
We observed the newspaper cutting carefully and noticed that there was a mismatch between the figures given in words and the figures written in digits. The figure provided in digits has fourteen zeros after ’28’, which means 2800 lakh crores, while the figures given in words are written as ‘2.8 lakh crores’.
Next, we noticed that the viral newspaper cutting had the byline of The Times of India’s National Editor Pankaj Doval. Taking this clue, we checked Pankaj Doval’s Twitter account and found that he had tweeted the page of Times Business on August 2. It is worth noting that the picture tweeted by him is similar to the viral image, however, it does not have the headline seen in the viral cutting.
That’s how the Business Page looks like when you start the day with record spectrum auctions, and end the day with record auto sales…
— Pankaj Doval (@pankajdoval)
To probe further, we matched the viral cutting with the news published in The Times of India (Chennai edition) dated August 2, 2022, and found that it is edited. In fact, the newspaper did not print anything about “a loss of 2.8 lakh crores” in the 5G spectrum auction. The original paper had written about the earning of 1.5 lakh crores in the auction of 5G spectrum by the government.
To sum it up, several politicians, accounts associated with the Congress party and social media users tweeted an edited image of the ‘Times Business’ page claiming the 5G spectrum auction to be a record-breaking scam. Whereas in reality, the original cutting of the newspaper had written about the earning of 1.5 lakh crores during the auction of the 5G spectrum.
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