What a coincidence, Dec 21 2017 : Judge OP Saini clears Kanimozhi and A Raja of all charges in 2G Scam, Feb 2 2017 : Judge OP Saini clears Maran brothers of all charges in 2G Scam, Feb 5 2012: Judge OP Saini clears P Chidambaram of all charges in 2G Scam, Coincidence? # 2GScamVerdict. Om Prakash Saini is the father of Angad Singh Saini,the YOUNGEST Indian National Congress MLA of Punjab (Nawanshahr).” A WhatsApp Forward with the aforesaid message is currently viral on social media. It is being claimed that the judge who gave the verdict in the 2g scam which acquitted A Rahja, Kanimozhi and others is the father of a Congress MLA from Punjab Angad Singh Saini.

RSS ideologue Ratan Sharda also tweeted one such message from his Twitter account before deleting it when being informed that the information that he’d received from a ‘reliable source’ was actually a WhatsApp forward. He tweeted, “Om Prakash Saini is the father of Angad Singh Saini,the YOUNGEST Indian National Congress MLA of Punjab (Nawanshahr)“. Ratan Sharda’s tweet was also retweeted by BJP Spokesperson Sanju Verma.

While political links within one’s family are often used to target the entire family, does the claim that Judge OP Saini and Angad Singh Saini share a father-son relationship hold any water? A simple google search shows that this is nothing but yet another disinformation campaign. Angad Singh’s father, Prakash Singh Saini, who was also a MLA, passed away on November 17th, 2010, in Delhi. A report in Tribune states that the present CM Amarinder Singh was among the prominent Congress leaders who had visited the family to pay tributes.

One of the first to highlight that all the verdicts were issued by the same CBI judge without alluding to the false claim of the judge being a father of a Congress MLA was made by a person called Sriram who is followed by PM Modi on Twitter. The tweet got retweeted over 1600 times.

Again, some basic google searching would suggest that OP Saini was hand-picked for this case and hence all the judgements being passed by the same judge was no coincidence. A report in India Today dating November 12, 2011 states:

Saini was handpicked to exclusively handle the 2G trial after the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly asked the Government to set up a special court to deal with the case. The Delhi government, on March 28, designated him to undertake the trial of all 2G cases.

Till then, designated the CBI judge, Saini had heard cases related to the Commonwealth Games, putting behind bars Suresh Kalmadi’s aides Lalit Bhanot, V.K. Verma, K.U.K. Reddy, Praveen Bakshi and Deorukhar Shekhar. He also denied bail to nalco chairman A.K. Srivastava, accused in a corruption case. Saini’s biggest case before the 2G scam was the Red Fort shootout where he handed the death sentence to main accused Mohammad Arif and gave life imprisonment to six others. In the December 22, 2000, incident at Red Fort, Arif and his accomplices stormed the monument and attacked an army camp, killing three jawans.

These tactics of character assassinating members of judiciary using disinformation when a judgment is not favourable is not new. Recently, Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri who passed a verdict banning sale of crackers in Delhi during Diwali also faced a similar disinformation campaign. A photo of Congress leader KP Singh Deo applying Gulal on Sonia Gandhi’s face on the occassion of Holi was passed off as the judge himself. From Ravish Kumar to Gurmehar Kaur, multiple people have been victim of character assassination via fake news. The trend continues…

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