The death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput earlier this year has spawned a parallel universe of conspiracy theories including one that claims actor Aditya Pancholi was spotted at Rajput's house disguised as police officer in order to destroy evidence.
The claim has been bolstered by an image which highlights a police officer that bears a resemblance to Pancholi. This false claim has been repeated on multiple social media platforms which have used the image to allege it is another piece of "evidence" that proves Rajput was killed. However, the claim is false.
BOOM found that the viral photo shows an Assistant Police Inspector (API) attached to the Bandra police station who was at Rajput's house after the police were informed of his death. We were able to identify the policeman as API Avinash Nadvinkeri, posted at the Bandra police station in Mumbai.
We also reached out to Aditya Pancholi who rubbished the claim and said "he was at home" and further added, "it is silly and absurd to think I would don a cop's uniform and visit a crime scene."
The image of the Mumbai police officer is viral with various captions on Facebook and Twitter with the most common one claiming Pancholi visited Rajput's house to destroy evidence.
The captions read, "Fake police: Aditya Pancholi disguised as Mumbai police entered SSR house to destroy evidence." Another caption reads, "look this is actor Aditya Pancholi in Sushant house as the fake police officer after he killed him"
Archive link here
View an archive of the tweet here
The same allegation went viral on Facebook a few days after Rajput's death and has been shared thousands of times since, in various Facebook groups. The Facebook posts have the circled the policeman's photo and compare it with a photo of Pancholi to show the alleged similarities in their build, hairstyle and shape of the eyebrows etc.
View the link to the post here and an archive of the same here
View the post link here and an archive of the same here
View the post link here and an archive of the same here
The viral posts shows a policeman wearing a black mask and moving a black body bag on to a stretcher with another policeman and workers doing the same with him.
The same is viral on YouTube with various captions hinting that the policeman is fake and it is Aditya Pancholi in disguise. Most videos have a similar caption that reads, "Murdered Shocking News - Sushant Singh Rajput के घर Aditya Pancholi in Police Uniform June 14 Suraj"
BOOM found that the policeman is not Aditya Pancholi but in fact a Mumbai police official attached to the Bandra police station. We identified him to be Avinash Nadvinkeri, an Assistant Police Inspector at the Bandra police station who was part of the team who reached actor Sushant Singh Rajput's house after the police were informed about his death.
We first contacted Aditya Pancholi who denied that it was him in the photo. "I have seen these posts and that photo and people need to realise what a serious allegation they are levying on me and all of it on social media." He added, "Do they think it was some crime scene in a movie that I will dress up as a cop and go to his house? I was at home and these people are sharing these things. Why do they even think I will have a cop's uniform just sitting at home?" Pancholi further said that the posts and allegation may seem laughable and absurd, but they are very serious. "They did the same to Suraj (Pancholi's son) too. Compared his photo to someone walking out of the building wearing a T-Shirt. People should be responsible in these times when everything and anything can be shared on social media."
We traced the original photo as clicked by a celebrity photographer - Manav Manglani and found the same on his Instagram account uploaded on June 14, the same day as Rajput's death. The photo by Manglani captured the same scene and the same policeman from three different angles.
We then reached out to Manglani who said the photo does not show Pancholi but could not provide us with photos of the same scene where the policeman's badge was clearly visible.
We contacted a source in the Mumbai police who identified the policeman as API Avinash Nadvinkeri. Taking this as a cue, we looked for Nadvinkeri and compared the viral photo with any publicly available photos in his Facebook account.
We found several similarities including the same build of the body, the shape of the eyebrows and the designation - three stars on his shoulder lapel. We further analysed API Nadvinkeri's photo on Facebook and spotted a tattoo his right arm just below the inside of his elbow.
Using the magnifying tool, we zoomed into the area found that the same tattoo was visible in the viral photo. The same has been highlighted in yellow below:
Many of the viral posts based the claim that the uniformed policeman was Pancholi by comparing both their hairstyles. So we also proceeded to do the same comparison and found that Pancholi's hairstyle and the haircut of the policeman though similar, are not an exact match. To compare, we used the WhatsApp display picture of Nadvinkeri which is publicly seen by people who have his phone number.
We ran a three way comparison, first comparing Pancholi's photo with API Nadvinkeri's WhatsApp display photo and then comparing Pancholi's photo with the viral photo of the policeman from Rajput's house.
You can see the three way comparison below:
The policeman has a thicker crop of hair than Pancholi and the haircut is also different.
After having confirmed with visual clues that the viral photo does not show Pancholi, we contacted API Nadvinkeri who did not seem surprised about the viral claim but refused to comment further.
Rajput was found dead in his Bandra apartment on June 14, with the Mumbai Police registering a case of suicide. The incident has since led to several pieces of fake news and misinformation spread on Facebook and Twitter with instances of news outlets running fake news too. The case has garnered wide spread interest with many Bollywood actors now being investigated in a parallel drugs racket by the Narcotics Control Bureau. Rajput's girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty was subsequently arrested by the NCB for allegedly procuring drugs for Rajput. The case is currently being investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Updated On: 2020-10-05T16:27:12+05:30
Claim Review : Aditya Pancholi disguised himself as a cop to enter Sushant Singh Rajputs house and destroy evidence
Claimed By : Social media posts
Fact Check : False