'Rambo' Modi story a hoax - Times of India clarifies

Last Updated: Mon, Jul 15, 2013 08:21 hrs

The Times of India issued a clarification on July 14, 2013, over the controversial 'Rambo' Modi story it had published on June 23, 2013.

In its Delhi edition, TOI defended its correspondent responsible for the story -- titled 'Modi in Rambo act, saves 15,000' -- and spoke of the 'facts' the journalist had gathered that day. Their statement effectively means that neither Modi nor the source of the quote was responsible for the big claims the story had raised.

You can read TOI's full statement here:

The Times of India on June 23 published a report from Uttarakhand headlined “Modi in Rambo act, saves 15,000.” The report sparked off a flurry of political claims and counterclaims. Our correspondent has already given a detailed explanation on how he gathered the facts for the report. During the course of this process, he spoke to Anil Baluni, the Uttarakhand BJP spokesperson, and many others.

Among the details that emerged from these conversations was that the Gujarat government’s efforts had helped around 15,000 people in various ways. This included giving them food, shelter, medicines and transport to reach their homes. Mr Baluni did not say that 15,000 people had been “rescued”. He neither tried to exaggerate facts nor mislead us. We regret any inadvertent inconvenience caused to any individual by the article. We are mortified by the controversy surrounding the report.

The 'Rambo' Modi story sparked off a flurry of political claims and counterclaims, triggering a large-scale national debate that led to the scrutiny of Modi's character. But from TOI's late clarification, it appears that the whole story was blown out of proportion by the media based on misleading information.

TOI's clarification is three-weeks late, but the damage appears to have been done. 

BJP targets media for 'Rambo' remark

BJP on Sunday made a scathing attack on the media for targeting Modi over his visit to flood-ravaged Uttarakhand. In an article on the party website, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the media had even put out editorials without checking facts.

"For some it was Modi's PR exercise, for some others he crossed the proverbial Lakshman Rekha. There was also one who, being completely outraged, called Modi a habitual liar. Another, teased by the visuals shown elsewhere, felt Modi went with his paraphernalia to airlift his old mother," Sitharaman said, adding that a columnist had called it "Rambogiri".

She said even ministers did not cross check facts accusing Modi of "rank opportunism". Comparing this with the recent controversy over Modi's puppy remarks, Sitharaman said, "The move from the Rambo to the puppy is too quick for even those who are searching for the tissue papers."

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