Govt Official Breaks Down Over Maharashtra's COVID Crisis? A FactCheck

Omprakash Shete, seen crying in the video, told BOOM that he is no longer a government official is now a social worker.

A video clip of Omprakash Shete a former aide of Devendra Fadnavis, where he breaks down claiming the terrible handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the Maharashtra state government is viral claiming he is a still serving government official, criticising Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Shete, who was an Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a recent press conference, got emotional and alleged that the COVID-19 situation in the state is being underplayed and falsely shared and misreported. BOOM found that Shete was an officer only under the Devendra Fadnavis led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state and posted as the head of the Chief Minister Medical Assistance Cell. He has since not held any other government position in Maharashtra.

Speaking to BOOM, Shete, clarified that he does not hold any position under the current state government in Maharashtra and further clarified that he was an OSD only in the Fadnavis led BJP government. "My tenure ended when Fadnavis's stopped being the chief minister of Maharashtra. I am currently a social worker," Shete clarified.

In the viral clip, Shete can be seen crying with media persons around and can be heard speaking in Marathi. His quote loosely translates to, "I have been the chief there, and we shouldn't speak ill of past associations, but it feels very bad...Sometimes I can't sleep, the structure of the temple which we built has been demolished. The common man cannot survive, it feels bad but only the Chief Minister has discretionary powers...it is up to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to decide how to use it. But at present, the condition of the people is very bad..."

The clip is being shared with a caption that falsely aims to show that Shete is a serving officer criticising his own government and Thackeray.

The clip is being shared with the caption, "Shocking :Mr Om Prakash Shete, OSD to CM #UddhavThackeray and Head of Medical Assistance Cell, breaks down while speaking to the reporters. The situation of #COVID19 is out of control in #Mumbai & other cities, people are dying...."

Click here to view, and here for an archive.

OpIndia, a right leaning news website, misreported Shete's video and called him a currently serving government officer. The story by OpIndia is titled, 'Chief of Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell in Maharashtra breaks down while describing the coronavirus situation in the state" and states, "the undated video has been doing rounds on social media in which Omprakash Shete, who is the chief of the Medical Assistance Cell of the Maharashtra Chief Minister."

BOOM has in the past reported misinformation published by OpIndia. Read here and here

OpIndia article

Click here to read an archive.

Republic TV also reported the viral clip with the headline, "'I Don't Have Any Hopes Left': Maha CM Medical Assistance Head Weeps Over COVID-19 Plight".

Republic TV article

Click here to read an archive.

Viral on Facebook


Also Read: No, The Man In This Viral Clip Is Not The Owner Of Himalaya Drug Co

FACT-CHECK

We found local news reports from September 21, 2020, about the press conference where Shete broke down in front of mediapersons and alleged that the government is underplaying the COVID-19 situation in Maharashtra.

The reports mostly in Marathi state that Omprakash Shete is the former head of the Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell and does not refer to him as a currently serving government official.

BOOM contacted Shete who said that the video clip is from a press conference held in Aurangabad on September 16, 2020, regarding a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by him seeking benefits under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana for all COVID-19 patients and not just those on ventilator support.

He further denied that he is currently an Officer on Special Duty and serving as the current head of Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell. "No, I am not the current OSD. I am a social worker and had filed a PIL to the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court and arranged a press conference regarding the same." He also said that the Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell where he was posted, no longer exists. "The fund is still in place but the cell has been dissolved," Shete said.

Talking about the video, Shete clarified that during the press conference, a reporter asked a question about the situation of Coronavirus in the state. "I answered this and said that my intention is that COVID-19 patients should get free treatment under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana for COIVD-19 patients." One can view The Hindu's report on the PIL mentioned by Shete which was filed to the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court which was filed on September 7, 2020, below.

We further found Shete's Facebook account where he mentions that he is the former OSD to the chief minister and the former head of the then Chief Minister's Medical Assistance Cell. Shete confirmed that the said Facebook belonged to him and was managed by him.

Shete's Facebook profile


Also Read: No, This Is Not Abu Salem With Kangana Ranaut


Updated On: 2020-09-29T21:26:37+05:30
Claim Review :   Video shows Omprakash Shete, current OSD with CM of Maharashtra and Head of Medical Assistance Cell
Claimed By :  Facebook Posts, OpIndia, Republic
Fact Check :  False
Show Full Article
Next Story