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Karnataka police file FIR against Sudhir Chaudhary, Aaj Tak for 'misinformation' on govt scheme

In the show, Chaudhary had allegedly claimed subsidies were being provided only for minorities in Karnataka and not for Hindus, as per the FIR. Karnataka police has registered an FIR against TV anchor Sudhir Chaudhary for “conspiring to disrupt communal harmony and spreading misinformation” in a show hosted by him on the Aaj Tak news channel.

On it, he had talked about the state government’s commercial vehicle subsidy scheme for minority communities. The scheme offers 50 per cent subsidy to people from religious minorities --- Muslims, Christians, Jains, Buddhist, Sikhs, and Parsis --- with a household income of less than Rs 4.5 lakh to purchase commercial vehicles.
According to the ‘Svalambi Sarathi Scheme’, beneficiaries who have been sanctioned bank loans for the purchase of autorickshaw/goods vehicles/taxis will be provided a subsidy to the tune of 50 per cent of the value of the vehicle, up to Rs 3 lakh, The Print reported. Chaudhary was booked at Seshadripuram police station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for promoting enmity between groups, based on a complaint filed by a Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation official.

The FIR said that on September 11 in a news programme, Chaudhary claimed that the Karnataka government was providing the scheme only to the minorities and not to the non-minority Hindus and that it is practicing minority appeasement in the state. "Despite being fully aware of the statements he is making, by publishing such news, he is hatching a conspiracy to disturb communal harmony in the state," the complainant alleged.

“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. Reacting to the FIR, the Consulting Editor of Aaj Tak channel, Sudhir Choudhary said he was ready to fight it in court.

"Got information about an FIR against me by the Congress government in Karnataka. The answer to the question is FIR? That too with non-bailable sections. That means complete preparation for arrest. My question was why the Hindu community is not included in the self-reliant Sarathi scheme? I am ready for this fight also. Now meet in court," he said in a post on 'X'. In addition to the ‘Svalambi Sarathi Scheme', a number of similar schemes have been implemented by Devaraj Urs Development Corporation, Dr B R Ambedkar Development Corporation, Valmiki Development Corporation, and Adi Jambhava Development Corporation.

"These schemes were not only for the minority community but also for backward classes, scheduled castes, and scheduled tribes. It was also available for the Hindu community's unemployed youths. These schemes were not implemented by the incumbent Congress government but by the previous BJP government," a statement from the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation said. (With PTI inputs) (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)