The Karnataka Police have booked Aaj Tak’s Consulting Editor and right wing journalist Sudhir Chaudhary for allegedly spreading misinformation about a commercial vehicle subsidy scheme for religious minorities.
The news anchor has been booked under sections 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code.
The police action comes after Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge accused the journalist of spreading misinformation.
“The anchor of @aajtak is deliberately spreading misinformation on government schemes which was first started by BJP MPs & is being amplified by sections of media. This is deliberate & malicious, Govt will be taking necessary legal action,” Karnataka Minister of Information Technology & Biotechnology (IT/BT) Priyank Kharge said on social media portal X Tuesday.
The post had a screenshot of a show promotion by Aaj Tak featuring Chaudhary, with a Hindi caption that translated to: “In Karnataka subsidy for minorities but not for Hindus?”
On Monday, Chaudhary ran a show where he claimed that the Swavalambi Sarathi scheme by the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation is not offered to Hindus. The scheme promises a subsidy of 50% or up to Rs 3 lakh to people from religious minorities with a household income less than Rs 4.5 lakh to purchase commercial vehicles.
Chaudhary said that the Karnataka government had said that the scheme would be made available to those from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but so far no such notification had been released. However, people from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the southern state can avail of similar benefits through the Airavatha Scheme, under which the government assists them in taking up work with cab aggregators. The scheme also provides for a subsidy of Rs 5 lakh to buy a light motor vehicle.