A newspaper cutting is being circulated across social media claiming that the central govt. lost approximately Rs. 280000000000000 in the recent 5G spectrum auction. Social media users are sharing a screenshot of an English newspaper — Times Business that mentions a record loss of Rs. 280000000000000 in a recent 5G spectrum auction. “5g Spectrum auction incur a record loss of 2.8 lakhs Cr,” the news article’s headline reads.
Many Congress leaders and the state units of the party, shared the cutting of the newspaper on their social media accounts claiming that the government of India lost Rs 2.8 lakh crore in the 5G spectrum auction.
Congress leader Pankhuri Pathak, tweeted a post with the same claims with the Hindi caption, “The entire country’s media is silent on the 5G scam. No debate, no noise, no discussion! Because many 000 have kept them silent by stuffing them in their mouths!”
Similar claims were circulated on Twitter by the UP Congress. “Just count to zero and consider the loss to the nation’s exchequer,” the UP Congress wrote. Why are those providing false information during 2G silent about the actual fraud involving 5G allocation?”, read a tweet by UP Congress.
State unit of the Congress for Bihar said while sharing the same claims, ” The government itself had kept the base price of 5G spectrum at 4.3 lakh crores, but the government was only able to auction it. 1.5 lakh crore only. Narendra Modi government has done a scam of 2.8 lakh crore !!”
The viral claims are also being circulated on Facebook.
Our team checked the viral claim, and found it to be misleading. The viral cutting has been altered in a subtle way to attack the central government.
The amount written in the title of the newspaper article comprises 14 zeros (2800000000000000 rupees) making it 28 thousand lakh crore rupees. The amount does not go in line with the amount the article mentioned in the sub-heading which says that the loss was about Rs. 2.8 lakh crore.
We further looked for the news on the Times Business website to find out the veracity of the claimed news. However, we were unable to find any news stories substantiating the claims of financial losses of 2.8 lakh crores.
While investigating the newspaper, we noticed that the viral news article is written by Pankaj Doval, editor of The Times of India. We also found the tweet of Pankaj Doval shared on Aug 2 in which he shared the same article for which he is being associated as an author in the viral cutting.
The tweet said, “That’s how the Business page looks like when you start the day with the record spectrum auctions and end the day with record auto sales…”. In the tweet, Mr Doval attached a photo of the full page of the newspaper that had same story but with different headline and sub-headline.
The headline in the viral post and that in Pankaj’s tweet is different and morphed in the viral post.
While examining the post from Pankaj Doval’s timeline against the viral post, we also found that some of the news columns were misplaced in the viral post. Hence, the viral post is altered and misleading.
After examining the viral posts from multiple facets, we found that the newspaper cutting claiming the loss of 28 thousand lakh crore is false and misleading. We also did vigorous research about the losses incurred in the recent 5G auction but found nothing in line with viral claims.