Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari was questioned by the Delhi Police last month in connection with its probe into the ‘COVID toolkit’ case, officials said Thursday.
They did not divulge further details, but said he was also questioned about the company’s policy behind flagging tweets by users as “manipulated media”.
This came after Twitter labelled as “manipulated media” a tweet by BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on a ‘COVID toolkit‘, attributed to the Congress, on how to target the Modi government over its handling of the coronavirus crisis.
A senior police officer said Thursday that a Delhi Police’s Special Cell team, which is probing the matter, was sent to Bengaluru on May 31 where Maheshwari was questioned.
The row over the purported ‘toolkit’ escalated after the Delhi Police’s Special Cell ”visited” two Twitter India offices on May 24 and served a notice, asking it to share information based on which it had classified Patra’s tweet as “manipulated media”.
The police action drew sharp criticism from the opposition Congress and Left which had accused the government of trying to stifle free speech and indulge in intimidation.
In response, the Delhi Police had issued a release terming Twitter’s statements “mendacious”, and designed to impede a lawful enquiry and seek “dubious sympathy”.
The strongly-worded Delhi Police statement had also termed Twitter’s conduct “obfuscatory, diversionary and tendentious”.
The government had asked Twitter to remove the ”manipulated media” tag as the matter was pending before the law enforcement agency, and made it clear that the social media platform cannot pass judgment while the issue is under investigation.