Old video of Indian journalist shared with false claim she has been arrested for money laundering

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter claiming to show an Indian journalist being arrested for money laundering. However, the claim is false. The video in fact shows the journalist leaving a police station after giving a statement on an unrelated issue seven months earlier.

The video claiming the journalist was arrested was shared here on Facebook on February 11, 2022.

It shows India-based Washington Post columnist Rana Ayyub, a vocal critic of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), emerging from a building and getting into a car.

The Hindi-language caption of the post says, "What would the madam say now? Anti-Hindu hate-monger and rumour- spreader Rana Ayyub, who survives on foreign money in the name of journalism, has been arrested. The Enforcement Directorate attached 1.77 crores and accused her of money laundering."

The video and claim was also shared here, here, here and here on Facebook, as well as here and here on Twitter.

India's Directorate of Enforcement, which investigates money-laundering offences,  did recently freeze 1.77 million rupees in Ayyub's bank accounts, over alleged irregularities related to funds she received to help Covid victims.

However, the claim that Ayyub was arrested is false.

A screenshot of the misleading post taken on March 2, 2022

A keyword search on YouTube found the same video in a report by the Indian news channel Republic Bharat posted on July 2, 2021. 

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video being shared (L) and the one used in the news channel’s report (R):

A screenshot comparison of the video being shared (L) and the one used in the news channel’s report (R)

According to the report, Ayyub went to the Ghaziabad's Loni police station after she and several other journalists and politicians were called in to submit a statement for tweeting an allegedly fake video and provoking religious enmity. 

The video -- which allegedly showed an elderly man being assaulted by two youths and made to chant a Hindutva slogan "Jai Shree Ram" -- was shared by multiple media personalities and political leaders on Twitter.

The video used in the false claims can also be seen in another report here

Ayyub, who lives in Bandra in Mumbai, told AFP the viral claims are false.

Pramod Kumbhar, a spokesperson for the Bandra police, also confirmed the claims were false, telling AFP that "no such arrest was made in our zone."