Chennai city crime branch police wing has filed a case against veteran newsreader and actor T V Varadharajan on the charges of spreading “false news” about the current novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation following a complaint lodged by the Tamil Nadu Health Department.
The complaint was lodged after a video of Varadharajan asking people to take care of themselves and avoid coming out of their homes unnecessarily to avoid getting infected with the pandemic virus did rounds on the social media, New Indian Express reported.
Referring to an emergency faced by a close friend, the veteran newsreader, who has acted in a few films besides in stage dramas, said in the video the friend, who suffered from breather problems arising out of Coronavirus attack, did not get admission in any hospital, which said all beds were not available.
"No bed was available in any hospital. We could not get a bed in all big hospitals, including government hospitals, in Chennai to admit him. They asked us to not bring the friend to the hospital. What can we do if you bring the patient to the hospital, we cannot treat.”
"We contacted higher-ups in the Government, hospital owners, managing directors, chairman. Talked to everyone. No one could help us. They were very frank. It is true beds are not available...," he said and went on suggest to take all precautions while going out.
Varadharajan, who said he wanted to warn people about an experience he and his brother underwent, cautioned the people to be extremely careful while going out and avoid stepping out unnecessarily.
Addressing the media last evening (8 June), Vijay Bhaskar denied that hospitals lacked beds and said enough beds were available. He said a case under The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, would be lodged against him.
The Health Department followed up the Minister’s statement immediately by filing a complaint for spreading rumour, intentionally spreading fake news and disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant under Indian Penal Code, besides section 3 of Epidemic Diseases Act.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Newsreaders Association has lashed out at the State Health Minister for his threat to initiate a case against T V Varadharajan.
The minister’s statement was a threat to freedom of expression, the association said and urged Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to shelve the move to file a case against the veteran.
So far, 33,229 persons have tested positive for novel Coronavirus in Tamil Nadu with 286 succumbing to the pandemic. Of these, 23,298 positives are from Chennai, which has accounted for 223 deaths.
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