Ex-serviceman held for spreading false news on Kerala relief work

Thiruvananthapuram: An ex-serviceman has been booked for allegedly spreading false information on flood relief work carried out by the government jointly with defence personnel.

Unni Nair, working at a firm which takes in retired army personnel, has been booked for spreading false information on the ongoing relief work, police said.

The man posted a video message in the social media, which went viral, soon after which the Army tweeted “Imposter wearing Army combat uniform in video spreading disinformation about rescue & relief efforts. Every effort by all & #IndianArmy aimed to overcome this terrifying human tragedy.”

Meanwhile Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned of stringent action against those spreading fake information at a time when Kerala was striving together as one to overcome the “catastrophic” floods with “monumental strength.”

“Some people are trying to malign this great effort with misinformation in the form of fake messages on social media. Police have been instructed to take strict measures against such cyber offenders,” he said in a Facebook post.

Vijayan said it has come to the government’s notice that there are some fraudulent messages and posters with altered CMDRF (Chief Ministers Disaster Relief Fund) account numbers.

Some of these stated that the disaster relief fund for cyclone Ockhi victims had not been used efficiently, he said.

The fact was that apart from releasing Rs 20 lakh grant at ‘record pace’ to the next of kin of the deceased and families of those missing, government had also disbursed Rs two lakh from the Prime Minister’s Calamity relief fund to each fisherman affected by the cyclone, he said.

The grants were released directly to the bank accounts of victims and their families, he said, adding funds are currently being released to aid in purchase of equipment to fishermen.

“We have been utilizing Ockhi relief fund with utmost care and will continue to do so,” he said.