News websites including Firstpost, New Indian Express, Times Now and News18 took down an Indo-Asian News Service-sourced story about a bank in which BJP president Amit Shah is a director
Hours after it was published, a story about Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah’s links to a district cooperative bank in Gujarat which collected deposits of demonetised ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes totalling ₹745.59 crore—within five days of PM Narendra Modi’s announecment of the demonetisation decision—has been taken down by as many as four news websites.None of the websites or their editors have issued any clarification about why the story was taken down.The story by news agency Indo-Asian News Service had reported that the “Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) secured deposits of ₹ 745.59 crore of the spiked notes—in just five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the demonetisation announcement”.The Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank received the maximum deposits among all the 370 district cooperative banks in the country, as per the IANS article which was based on a RTI reply received from the Chief General Manager and Appellate Authority, S Saravanavel of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, by RTI activist M Manoranjan S Roy.“All the district cooperative banks were banned from accepting deposits of the banned currency notes from the public after November 14, 2016—five days after demonetisation—on fears that black money would be laundered through this route,” said the IANS article.
Amit Shah has been a director of the bank for several years and still holds the position in the bank.Terming the taking down of the article by so many websites “Modi government’s crackdown on the media”, the Congress party on June 22 demanded explanation from the PM. AICC Communications in-charge, Randeep Surjewala said, “By suppressing the media, truth cannot be hidden” at a press conference held at AICC headquarters in Delhi.It is not the first time that a story critical to the BJP president has been removed from a news website. Referring to a story that was published in the Times of India last year, Surjewala said, “A story about 300% increase in the assets of the BJP president was also removed from the paper’s website within hours of being published”. “Was it done under the pressure of Amit Shah too?” asked Surjewala.