A first information report was filed against Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district on Thursday in connection with her tweets on the PM Cares Fund. Advocate KV Praveen filed a complaint at the Sagar Town police station saying that the party allegedly spread rumours and misled the public with regards to the fund, The Indian Express reported.

Praveen claimed that on May 11 after 6 pm, the Congress made “baseless” and “false” allegations against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government through its Twitter handle, @INCIndia.

An unidentified officer from Sagar Town police station told the newspaper that “on the basis of a complaint filed by Praveen KR at 10.30 am at the police station today [Thursday], an FIR has been registered after a preliminary enquiry”. The officer added that Sonia Gandhi was identified as the handler of the Twitter account.

Praveen told ANI that the Congress called the PM Cares Fund a “fraud”. “They said on Twitter that it [the PM Cares Fund] is not being used for public and that the prime minister is going on foreign trips using this fund.” He said that rumours were being spread against the government at a time when the country is fighting the coronavirus pandemic. “So I filed a complaint [against Sonia Gandhi].”

The advocate told the newspaper that a time when the nation is expected to morally support the government and the prime minister, messages like these were “aimed at creating nuisance among the public”.

The unidentified officer said that the first information report was filed under Section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and Section 505(1)(b) (intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public) of the Indian Penal Code.

Congress demands withdrawal of FIR

The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President DK Shivakumar on Thursday in a letter to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa demanded the withdrawal of the first information report against Gandhi, according to ANI. Shivakumar said that the tweets were “misinterpreted” by the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership and “instigated” Praveen to file a complaint against Gandhi “based on false information without examining its truthfulness”.

He said that Gandhi had tweeted with the intention of “forcing the Prime Minister to use the PM Cares Fund for the welfare of the people of the country”. He also demanded that the police officer who registered the first information be suspended. “We hereby demand your goodself to withdraw the said FIR [first information report] and to suspend the said police officer immediately,” the letter read. “We also urge you to register an FIR against the said police officer for misusing the process of law in the interest of justice and equality.” .

The PM Cares Fund was started in March. PM Cares – an acronym for Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations – has been set up with the stated objective of being a “dedicated national fund” to deal with “any kind of emergency or distress situation”.

The fund has also come under fire from Opposition politicians. On March 30, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor questioned the creation of the fund, saying Modi owed an explanation for it.

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