The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra has not taken kindly to allegations that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was squandering public money on a holiday with his family. In a response to a post on Twitter making this suggestion, Sanjay Pandey, a BJP worker in Mumbai has filed a case of criminal defamation against the man who put up the post, reports The Times of India.

A screenshot of the photographA screenshot of the photograph

A screenshot of the photograph

There is outrage in Fadnavis’ hometown as well. PTI reports that Dharampal Meshram, a BJP leader from Nagpur, has also filed a complaint in a police station against unknown persons for circulating the image. Meshram was quoted as saying that circulating the image was an attempt to “tarnish the image of the chief minister” at a time when he was in the United States to garner investment for his state.

The photograph shows Fadnavis on a yacht with his wife and daughter. The Asian Age reports that the tweet along with the photo said “Kaise janata ke paise ka durupyog kar rahe hain” (See how public money has been misused.)

However, BJP leaders has claimed that the photo was taken during a trip to Goa a year ago and was passed off to look as though Fadnavis was holidaying in the US.

Only days earlier, Fadnavis had reacted strongly to accusations that he held up an Air India flight to the US as a bureaucrat accompanying him had not brought the proper travel documents with him. Fadnavis was reported to have said that he would initiate action against sections of the media which carried the news.

But CNN-IBN accessed e-mails that later proved that the delay was because one of Fadnavis’ aides had forgotten his passport. According to the CNN-IBN reports, the Air India duty managers sent the e-mail to the CMD and Executive Director.

Interestingly, the defamation case comes at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing a petition by BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy challenging the provisions of criminal defamation in the Indian Penal Code.

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BJP leaders take offence to tweet against Maharashtra CM Fadnavis, file defamation case