TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale allegedly arrested for Morbi bridge tweet
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday claimed the Gujarat Police arrested its spokesperson Saket Gokhale in Jaipur. The party's national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O'Brien, termed it a "political vendetta" by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In a series of tweets, O'Brien described the circumstances under which Gokhale was arrested, claiming he was detained over his tweet on the Morbi bridge collapse.
Why does this story matter?
- Gokhale is the latest in a long list of TMC leaders detained in recent months. His arrest comes months after the arrests of senior party leaders like Partha Chatterjee and Anubrata Mondal in the teacher recruitment scam and cattle smuggling cases, respectively.
- Earlier, the TMC condemned the alleged attacks on its leaders as a "ploy" by the BJP-led central government to "harass" political opponents.
Here's what O'Brien said about Gokhale's arrest
According to O'Brien, Gokhale traveled from New Delhi to Jaipur on a 9:00 pm flight on Monday, and when he landed, a Gujarat Police team waiting for him at the airport had picked him up. Gokhale then called his mother at around 2:00 am on Tuesday to inform her the police were taking him to Ahmedabad and that he would reach there by noon.
Case filed by Ahmedabad Cyber Cell
"The police let him (Gokhale) make that two-minute phone call [to his mother] and then confiscated his phone and all his belongings," Derek O'Brien wrote on Twitter. The TMC leader further claimed the case against Gokhale was filed with the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell.
Series of tweets posted by Derek O'Brien
TMC national spokesperson @SaketGokhale arrested by Gujarat Police.— Derek O'Brien | ডেরেক ও'ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) December 6, 2022
Saket took a 9pm flight from New Delhi to Jaipur on Mon. When he landed, Gujarat Police was at the airport in Rajasthan waiting for him and picked him up. 1/3
Jaipur Airport Police says it wasn't informed of arrest
"The cooked-up case is filed with the Ahmedabad cyber cell about [Gokhale's] tweet on the Morbi bridge collapse," O'Brien alleged. "All this cannot silence the All India Trinamool Congress and the Opposition. BJP taking political vendetta to another level," he added. Meanwhile, senior Jaipur Airport Police officials expressed ignorance about the arrest. "I have no information. Nobody informed us," said SHO Digpal Singh.
PIB Fact Check flagged Gokhale's tweet earlier
While the TMC didn't reveal which tweet by Gokhale landed him in trouble, the fact-checking unit of the government's Press Information Bureau (PIB) flagged one of his tweets on Thursday. In it, Gokhale claimed PM Narendra Modi's Morbi visit after the tragedy cost Rs. 30cr, sharing some newspaper clippings. "This claim is fake. No such RTI response has been given," PIB Fact Check tweeted.
Take a look at what PIB Fact Check posted
A little about the Morbi bridge tragedy
A cable suspension bridge over the Machchhu River in Morbi, Gujarat, collapsed on October 30, killing about 140 people and injuring hundreds of others. The 143-year-old bridge was reopened just four days before the mishap after being closed for months for renovation. The incident triggered nationwide outrage prompting authorities to book the private contractor company and the concerned municipal officials.