A senior anchor of an English television news channel apologised to the Shiv Sena on Monday following a protest letter to the channel after he erroneously named the party for threatening Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawala over vaccines.
Senior Sena leader and Maharashtra Industries Minister Subhash Desai wrote to Aroon Purie, head of India Today group, demanding an apology from anchor Rahul Kanwal for an ‘untrue and defamatory’ story.
The letter said, “We do not know the political leanings of the news group as earlier too we have seen another senior Hindi news anchor voice her personal bias against one of our party leaders. However, to attach another party president’s video to the Sena and to deliberately defame us through misinformation speaks volumes of the political bias of the anchor.”
It said that such action “reeks of malice and a misinformation campaign, may be to divert the national debate…”
Reminding Mr. Poorie of the action against another anchor in the past, Mr. Desai demanded an apology from the anchor on the same platform.
Hours after the letter from the Sena, Mr. Kanwal tweeted, “Yesterday while anchoring I had spoken about a video of a leader threatening Serum Institute. The video was issued by Raju Shetty who is leader of Swabhimani Shektari Sanghatana (SSS) and not a leader of the Shiv Sena (SS). The confusion and inconvenience caused is regretted.”
Mr. Shetti, former Lok Sabha MP and farmer leader, had warned Mr. Poonawala on April 9 that his party would not let trucks of SII leave Maharashtra if the State was not given adequate supply of vaccines.
On Monday, Mr. Shetti said that he was firm on his warning even today. “Vaccine is being manufactured in Pune and people of Maharashtra are deprived of it. We will not let vaccine trucks go out of the State if our supply is not increased,” he said.