Trinamool faces action over morphed photo

Kolkata, April 23 (IANS) Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien on Saturday caused embarrassment to his party after it was revealed that he had showed a photoshopped picture in his bid to prove close links between CPI-M and BJP leaders. Both the BJP and the CPI-M threatened legal action.

Addressing a press conference, O’Brien played two videos of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s speeches and four pictures that included one that showed union Home Minister Rajnath Singh offering sweets to former CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat.

Pointing to this particular picture, O’Brien called it his “favourite”.

But much to his dismay and the Trinamool’s embarrassment, O’Brien’s “favourite” picture turned out to be “photoshopped”, as the BJP came up with the “real picture” — that has Rajnath Singh offering sweets to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Trinamool subsequently admitted that the picture was photoshopped and removed it from its website.

“Two videos & 6 pics were shown at our press conference. We removed one pic immediately when our research team learnt it was photoshopped,” the Trinamool said in its official Twitter account which was retweeted by O’Brien.

O’Brien subsequently in a video message on his Facebook admitted it was a mistake and sought to “end the chapter”.

“One of the pictures, our research team found out to be not genuine, it was a morphed picture. We didn’t morph it but took from the internet,” said O’Brien, admitting it was a “mistake”.

However, he went on to ridicule the BJP, without taking names.

“There are parties who have been created out of photoshopped pictures.

“Remember one photoshop picture wherein a high dignitary sitting in an aircraft and looking down the window, the window in the picture was morphed,” said O’Brien.

He was referring to a morphed photograph tweeted by the Press Information Bureau of Prime Minister Modi undertaking an aerial survey of flood-hit Chennai in December last year. The picture was subsequently deleted.

“We did what was the dignified thing to do in a dignified way, we took the picture off and the chapter ought to be closed there. And quiz masters need to be more careful with their research team as well,” added O’Brien.

Both the CPI-M and the BJP said they would initiate legal action.

“I have not got any opportunity of meeting Rajnath Singh ever. It is a patently false picture,” said Karat.

“This is a serious crime under cyber law. Showing a morphed picture, that too in a press conference. The Trinamool continues to stoop as low as possible. While police should suo motu initiate a case, if that is not done, we will be filing a police complaint against O’Brien and the Trinamool,” CPI-M Lok Sabha member Mohammad Salim told IANS.

Describing the act as a “desperate measure” by the Trinamool, BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said the party will be initiating legal action in the matter.

State BJP vice president Jayprakash Majumdar said Trinamool chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will also come under the purview of its legal action.

“Without her knowledge, this has not been done. The first name to be included in our police complaint will be that of the chief minister,” said Majumdar.

–IANS

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