A Twitter user has posted a tweet in the name of West Tripura District Magistrate Shailesh Kumar Yadav and has gained likes and retweets in the thousands. Yadav recently made headlines for shutting down a wedding ceremony violating COVID-19 night curfew rules in Agartala. He also slapped the priest and misbehaved with the groom while raiding the venue. The tweet, posted by the handle @shailashyadaias, reads, “If it is a crime to apprehend those who break the law, then I am a proud criminal and I am proud of my constitution”. At the time of writing, it was liked by over 6,100 users and retweeted by 1,400. (Archive link)

Another tweet from this handle said, “I accept my suspension. What I did was in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic. And according to me, I did the right thing.” This had amassed over 8,000 likes and 1,700 retweets at the time of writing. (Archive link)

The Free Press Journal (archive link) and Easy Mojo (archive link) published reports on the tweets, attributing them to Shailesh Yadav.

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YouTube channel Study Glows included the tweets in one of its videos that gained over 2 lakh views. The tweet has been mentioned between 4:26 and 4:36 in the video. (Archive link)

SHIVARV, another YouTube channel, also released a video on the tweet. It had generated over 10,000 views as of this writing. (Archive link)

A screenshot of the tweet is massively widespread on Facebook.

The account also wrote a tweet expressing thanks in response to a hashtag campaign in support of Shailesh Yadav. IRS Sugrive Meena, believing the account to be real, replied, “Congratulations, keep up the integrity.” (Archive link)

Another tweet by the handle read, “The news of death from all around has completely broken down our resolve”, to which IAS Dr Heera Lal Meena wrote, “We need to stand up for others in these difficult times.” (Archive link)

Imposter account

The tweet posted by the handle in Hindi has several grammatical errors. Furthermore, the earliest tweet made by the account dated back to April 30. This raised suspicions that the handle could be impersonating Shailesh Kumar Yadav.

We noticed that the pinned tweet of the account had the username @arpitapatel111 at the time of writing and its URL also read ‘Arpita Patel’. (Archive link)

We attempted to find old tweets by the handle through Twitter’s advanced search but found that they had already been deleted. But the replies to old tweets by other people were still visible. The username @arpitapatel111 appeared in the replies and redirected to Shailesh Yadav’s account. Archived links of old tweets when the handle used to operate as Arpita Patel can be found here.

Below is a screenshot of archive.is which shows @shailashyadaias redirecting to @Arputapatel111.

Alt News contacted Shailesh Yadav who confirmed that he doesn’t have an account on either Twitter or Facebook. An imposter account was therefore, created in his name and believed to be true by many.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).