Police arrest NCP youth leader for asking MP CM to make his COVID-19 report public, sent to jail

Bhopal Crime Branch police arrested Rajan Singh after he held a press conference in Bhopal on Monday questioning whether the CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan had actually contracted COVID-19

Shivraj Singh Chouhan (PTI)
Shivraj Singh Chouhan (PTI)

Kashif Kakvi

Madhya Pradesh Police on Thursday arrested a 22-year-old youth leader of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for asking Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to make public his COVID-19 test report.

Bhopal Crime Branch police arrested Rajan Singh from JK Hospital on Thursday afternoon. He has been booked under IPC Sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 500 (Punishment for defamation), 501(Printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory.) and 505 (2) (Statements conducing to public mischief). He has been sent to police remand till August 4, the police said.

“Rajan has been booked for spreading rumors about COVID-19 and CM’s illness. He has been booked under section 188, 500, 501 and 505 (2) of the IPC and sent to police custody till August 4,” said ASP Bhopal Crime Branch, Gopal Dhakad.

When asked why he was booked for criminal defamation if he was allegedly spreading lies about COVID-19, Dhakad in a bizarre reply said, “These charges also levelled for spreading fake information.”

During a press conference on Monday in Bhopal, Rajan demanded that CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan make public his COVID-19 test report as his claim of being positive for the infection was under a cloud. “Three days have passed since CM Chouhan allegedly fell prey to the COVID-19 virus, but neither any official statement nor any official report has been published by the government,” he said.

The private hospital, Chirayu – run by a Vyapam accused, Ajay Goenka – where the CM has been admitted, is only releasing a report which says everything is normal. The report, however, neither has ICMR registration ID, Specimen Referral Form (SRF) ID, patient ID nor is it signed by any authorised government doctor which is a protocol of any genuine report, Rajan claimed during the press conference.

He further contended that COVID-19 patients are prohibited from meeting any outsiders, but the CM has been frequently meeting with visitors and politicians without any safety measures. The photo of his meetings recently went viral on social media. “If CM is COVID-19 positive, why he is hiding his test report? Why has he gone to a private hospital when there is AIIMS and other government hospitals? It looks like a media stunt just to gain public sympathy,” he said, urging the CM to make his positive report public.

As the video of the press conference went viral of social media, the following day, the police booked him under various sections of the IPC and arrested him on Thursday.

“To clarify his stand on the subject before the media, Rajan had called a press conference on Thursday at 12 PM; however, the police arrested him 15 minutes before the presser,” said his close aid Aditya Kushwaha.

“Is urging the CM to make public his COVID-19 report a crime in the state? Why is he so afraid of a 22-year-old youth?” asked Kushwaha,adding that instead of ‘framing’ a youth for asking question, the CM should have made his report public.

Congress leader Kunal Choudhury has also backed Rajan and termed the police action arbitrary. "Arresting a 20-year-old youth from a hospital for questioning CM Chouhan's COVID-19 positive claim is arbitrary," he said.

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Published: 30 Jul 2020, 9:06 PM