An image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi bowing with folded hands to the chairperson and founder of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani is fake and has been morphed. BOOM found that the original photo is from 2018 and shows Modi greeting a social worker, Deepika Mondol who was visiting the Rashtrapati Bhawan for an event.
The photo was shared by former Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar with the caption, "Wish fellow parliamentarians and others in politics also received such courtesy and bonhomie — from their permanently-scowling PM. In a mature democracy, we would know the two-way relationship, favours, transactions. Some day, history will tell us."
BOOM found that the original photo does not show Nita Ambani, but a social worker Deepika Mondol, who was attending a 2018 event at the Rashtrapati Bhawan with her husband, Samar Mondol. Samar, who was a photographer at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and had confirmed to us then that the photo is from 2018 and that he had clicked it.
BOOM had previously debunked the false claim that was being shared with the original photo in December 2020 when it was shared claiming that Modi was bowing to Priti Adani, chairperson of the Adani Foundation.
A reverse image search on the photo showed us a story that appeared in Hindi news daily, Amar Ujala on April 12, 2018, which identified the woman as Deepkia Mondal, a social worker who runs a non governmental organisation called Divyajyoti Culture Organisation and Welfare Society.
The photo story in Amar Ujala carried the same viral photo and other pictures of the same woman posing with other celebrities and politicians. Using this as a hint, we searched for Divyajyoti Culture Organisation and Welfare Society and found the same listed on many NGO directory websites. The sites listed Mondol as one of the founding partners and speaking to BOOM in December 2020, she too confirmed the same.
Mondol had then told BOOM that the photo is from 2018 when she was attending a Civil Investiture Ceremony when Pranab Mukherjee was the president. Mondol explained the minutes leading up to the picture and said, "The PM was walking around meeting everyone and when he came to me, I said Namaste to which he replied Namaste Mataji and then asked me what I do. I told him I am a social worker he just bowed to me with folded hands. I was very humbled by his gesture and you can see in the photo that I am feeling slightly overwhelmed with the prime minister bowing to me."
Mondol had added that PM Modi soon left and went to meet other guests. "The photo had gone viral even in 2018 after some newspapers picked it up and profiled me," she said. "I am not related or connected to Adanis. I run an NGO and do social work."
We had also reached out to Samar, Mondol's husband who was incidentally an official photographer at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. "She would attend various events with me at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, with due permission and following procedure of course and has photos with various celebrities and political leaders," he said. Samar further explained that the photo was uploaded on his wife's Facebook profile too. "We had uploaded it but when we realised that it had gone viral with some wrong messages, we locked her profile.
He had also shared with us a video where Mondol is speaking to a local channel about the moment when Modi greeted her with folded hands and a bow. Watch here
One can view a comparison of the fake and original photo below