Another FIR against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, Rajdeep Sardesai and five other journalists was filed in Delhi on Saturday for allegedly tweeting "misleading" information on the violence and death of a protester during the farmers' tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day.
The other five journalists include Mrinal Pande, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath, Anant Nath, and Vinod K Jose. All of them have been booked for sedition, criminal intimidation, promoting enmity, provocation to break public peace, criminal conspiracy, outraging religious feelings, among others.
Earlier, FIRs were lodged against the seven at Gurgaon (Haryana) and Bengaluru on Friday, in Noida (UP) on Thursday. Four similar cases have also been lodged in different districts of Madhya Pradesh earlier.
The FIR in Noida was registered based on a complaint by a resident of the city, who alleged that "digital broadcasts" and "social media posts" by the Congress leader and the journalists claiming that a farmer had been shot dead by the Delhi Police, led to the violence at Red Fort and other parts of Delhi.
The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 298 (utterings, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), 506 (criminal intimidation), 120B (criminal conspiracy), as well as section 66 of the Information Technology Act among others.
Moreover, The India Today Group on Thursday took senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai off-air for two weeks and deducted his salary for a month as part of disciplinary action over a wrong tweet, and announcement on live television, that the man who had died during the farmers' tractor rally in Delhi on January 26 had been "shot", The Indian Express reported.
The India Today Group said in a statement: "Disciplinary action for breach of our code of conduct is a confidential matter and we would like to refrain from commenting on this."
On January 26, thousands of protesting farmers clashed with the police during the tractor rally in protest against the centre's farm laws. The protests soon turned violent after hundreds of protesters had entered the Red Fort.
The tractor rally was permitted to start after the Republic Day parade in the national capital ended. However, the rally resulted in chaos after farmers broke through barricades and changed the agreed route.
The police then asked the farmers protesting at the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border at Ghazipur to return home on Thursday. The farmers, however, refused to leave, with their leader Rakesh Tikait saying that he is "ready to face bullets" if required.
The other two important borders - Tikri and Singhu have also been placed under heavy security.