As the coronavirus pandemic has caused an economic crisis in India, multiple individuals came forward to donate money in the PM-CARES fund which has reportedly raised Rs 6,500 crore since it was set up on March 28. Social media is ripe with several claims about prominent industrialists and personalities pledging huge sums of money for the fight against coronavirus.

Now, a newspaper’s front page image is getting shared on social media. It includes a news clipping which says that Maulana Saad has donated Rs 1 crore to the PM relief fund. The clipping is dated March 30, 2020. It is being claimed when Saad was asked about the pledge he said Islam doesn’t allow showing off the donation. Maulana Saad, formerly known as Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, is the chief of Tablighi Jamaat Markaz. He has been in the news after a religious gathering organized at Delhi’s Nizamuddin was identified as a hotspot of coronavirus. An FIR has been lodged against Saad and five others for violating the lockdown. On April 6, the Crime Branch of Delhi had issued a second notice to Saad after it reportedly deemed his response to the first notice “unsatisfactory”.

Importantly, the report is seen beside the news of Azim Premji foundation committing Rs 1,125 crore for tackling coronavirus. Twitter user Asgar Qureshi tweeted the clipping and said, “Maulana Saad had donated Rs 1 crore to the PM relief fund. (translated)”.

The same image is also viral on Twitter and Facebook.

Alt News has received several requests on its official android application to fact-check the viral clipping.


With a keyword search of the headline seen below the said news clipping, Alt News found an article published by BBC News on June 6, 2019. Northern Ireland daily The News Letter’s front-page photograph was published along with this article. A comparison of the viral front page of The News Letter with the one published by BBC reveals that the news clipping of Maulana Saad donating Rs 1 crore has been edited into the original photo. Furthermore, the news about Azim Premji foundation pledging money and “Corona virus havoc in Spain” has been morphed into the front page to give the impression that it is genuine and recent.

The original copy of the newspaper is dated June 6, 2019.

In conclusion, a news clipping was manufactured to claim that Tablighi Jamaat Markaz chief Maulana Saad donated Rs 1 crore to Prime Minister Modi COVID-19 relief fund. This news clipping was later morphed into an older front-page of the newspaper The News Letter to inject credibility to the claim.

About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.