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Fact Check: No, Ex-PM Nepal Didn’t Sob After Court Ordered Probe Against Him In Lalita Niwas Scam. Viral Video Is Misleading

Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Claim
Ex-Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal cried after the apex court allowed the Home Ministry to launch investigation against two former Prime Ministers in Lalita Niwas land scam.
Fact
Viral video is from August 2019, and it shows Madhav Kumar Nepal becoming emotional during a meeting of the parliament’s international relations committee.  

A viral video purportedly showing former Prime Minister and Chairman of CPN (Unified Socialist) Madhav Kumar Nepal sobbing after the Supreme Court cleared the way to launch investigation into those involved in “policy decisions” on the Lalita Niwas land scam is going viral on TikTok.

Earlier on 6 August, the Supreme Court issued a ruling clearing the way to investigate those involved in Cabinet decisions to transfer plots of Lalita Niwas land in the name of private individuals. 

What Is Lalita Niwas land scam?
The Lalita Niwas land scam is a case of policy corruption in which around 5.79 hectares of government land housing the official residence of the Prime Minister of Nepal, Central Bank of Nepal and other VIP residences, was illegally transferred to big business groups of Nepal by land brokers in collusion with government officials, ministers, and politicians.  

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @dambarlabung posted a video showing former Prime Minister and CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal sobbing and wiping his tears. Text superimposed on the video reads, “The Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of Madhav Kumar Nepal in Lalit Niwas land scam.” A sentimental song about the twists and turns of life by Ram Krishna Dhakal is played in the background. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

The video posted on August 7 has garnered 949 likes, 68 users have shared it and 129 people have commented until the time of publishing this article. Newschecker found the claim to be misleading. 

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, we split the video into several keyframes and conducted reverse searches. But the search didn’t yield any result as the image was a little blurry. We, then, conducted a search on YouTube by using Nepali keywords ‘Madhav Nepal cried’, and the search led us to a video, dated 4 August 2019, published on the YouTube channel of Ratopati online.

On checking the video, we found that a portion of video from 0.5-minute time-stamp onwards exactly matched the viral video. The footage showed Madhav Kumar Nepal sobbing and wiping his tears. This video clearly indicated that the footage showing Madhav Kumar Nepal becoming emotional is old.

Further, we also clicked the link of an article and found that leader MK Nepal had become emotional during a meeting of a parliament’s international relations committee in Singha Durbar Kathmandu. The parliamentary committee had organised a programme to welcome the then newly elected Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai. The ambience of the meeting had turned sombre after Bhattarai said ‘Nepal is not just a leader but a Guru [Teacher]’ for him, recalling an old incident of his miraculous recovery after leader MK Nepal touched him when he was hospitalised for nearly two months back in 1986.

Thus, we found that an old and unrelated video of leader Madhav Kumar Nepal sobbing is shared in a misleading manner.

Conclusion

The viral video purporting to show former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal crying after the Supreme Court order to investigate two former prime ministers in Lalita Niwas case is misleading.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
Ratopati /YouTubie, 4 August, 2019
Ratopati.com, 4 August, 2019


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Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

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