A few hours after India Today put its senior anchor and consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai off air for two weeks over spreading fake news during the tractor rally protest, he has reportedly quit the channel. According to sources, Rajdeep Sardesai was found guilty of spreading two major fake news in just one week, after which he was suspended for two weeks by the media house.
Earlier, India Today had taken Sardesai off the air, citing his on-air claim and tweets of Delhi Police shooting and killing a farmer during the January 26 tractor rally. The channel has also deducted one-month’s salary from the anchor.
On January 26, farmers’ protesting against the three farm laws took out a tractor rally led by Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, Darshan Pal and Gurnam Singh Chaduni. Clashes broke out between the police and protesters during the march, and the Delhi Police claimed that more than 300 police personnel were injured. The police later booked at least 37 farmer leaders.
During the protest, Sardesai, in a tweet, said, “One person, 45-year-old Navneet, killed allegedly in police firing at ITO. Farmers tell me: the ‘sacrifice’ will not go in vain.”
The news took the country by storm. Sardesai even went live from the spot at ITO in Delhi, explaining how the young farmer was shot by cops and why this would become a really big movement as farmers from across the country would seek ‘Justice for Navneet’.
He could be heard saying that Navneet Singh was shot in the head. “It was a bullet injury that resulted in his death. His death has sparked off an angry reaction,” he said. He could also be heard saying that Navneet would now become a symbol (of the protest).
Meanwhile, many Twitter users have started asking why Sardesai’s handle has not been suspended yet.
The police, meanwhile, said the farmer had died when his tractor overturned. Later, the Delhi Police released a video in which a tractor can be seen going out of control and overturning.
Minutes after this video was released, Sardesai retracted his statement and said, “While the farm protesters claim that the deceased Navneet Singh was shot at by Delhi police while on a tractor, this video clearly shows that the tractor overturned while trying to break the police barricades. The farm protestors’ allegations don’t stand. Post mortem awaited.”
He also tweeted appreciation for the police, saying they showed “great restraint” at Red Fort and ITO.
Sardesai, however, has not commented on the latest development.