What Is Congress Toolkit Case? Why Twitter and Government Are Locking Horns On This?

by Shatakshi Gupta

The US headquarters of Twitter became active following the Delhi Police’s notice to Twitter India in the toolkit case.  Delhi Police officials reached the Twitter office on Monday. After this, Twitter has assigned the matter to its Global Deputy General Counsel and Legal VP Jim Baker. Jim has also worked with the US investigative agency FBI.

The Times of India, quoting sources, said in its report that Twitter can reach the US government regarding the toolkit case. Twitter India office is closed due to Corona and now the US headquarters has intervened in the matter. The Twitter headquarters is in constant touch with its India-based office.

Notice created tension in Twitter’s headquarters

Twitter has been on the target of the central government ever since it tagged the post of BJP leaders as Manipulated Media.  Now the Delhi Police has reached Twitter offices in Delhi and Gurgaon regarding the investigation in the toolkit case. Sources said that there was an atmosphere of tension in the Twitter headquarters after the police sent notice.

Delhi Police seeks answers from Twitter

The Delhi Police’s Special Cell is investigating the Toolkit and Manipulated Media case. Delhi Police said that in the complaint we are investigating, we need an explanation from Twitter. We feel that Twitter has some information, which we do not know. Twitter has classified this information but this information is crucial for the investigation. 

What is the toolkit controversy and its timeline?

On May 18, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra shared a screenshot, which he called the toolkit of the Congress. He said that through this toolkit, Congress wants to tarnish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding corona management.  Congress immediately opposed it,alleging it to be fake.

Two days later, on May 20,  Twitter puts Manipulated Media tag on Patra’s tweet. Besides, the post of author Shefali Vaidya was also tagged in the same way.

The next day, BJP’s Vinay Sahastrabuddhe, Preeti Gandhi, Sunil Deodhar, Charu Pragya, Kuljit Singh Chahal’s posts were also tagged with Manipulated Media tag.

Then, on May 22, the Indian government instructs Twitter to remove such tags. The government said the Toolkit case is being investigated and with such tagging, Twitter is giving its verdict before the investigation.

Also read: Twitter Permanently Suspends Kangana’s Account After Indecent Tweets On Bengal Elections

Later on May 24, Delhi Police sends a notice to Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari. Twitter India has been asked to be present in the Special Cell office by taking documents related to the toolkit case. Maheshwari was to go before the police on 22 May as well, but he refused to go to the police officer saying that he was not the authority in the case. This information regarding the notice reached US headquarters in the early hours. Twitter involved its senior officer in the case.

On May 25, chief spokesperson of Congress, Randeep Surjewala wrote a letter to Twitter’s head for Legal, Policy and Trust and Safety Vijaya Gadde and its Vice President (Legal) Jim Baker, seeking stern action against 11 union ministers for allegedly spreading false and forged documents. In his letter, Randeep refers to the alleged toolkit document being shared by several BJP leaders and ministers with claims that it was created by Congress to attack the Centre over the Coronavirus crisis.

He sought action against the union ministers including Giriaj Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Prahlad Joshi, Dharmendra Pradhan, Thawarchand Gehlot, Harsh Vardhan, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.