Minhaj Aman

Research-Lead, Dismislab
Babar Azam’s alleged sexting, one Nimo Yadav and the media circus
This article is more than 1 year old

Babar Azam's alleged sexting, one Nimo Yadav and the media circus

Minhaj Aman

Research-Lead, Dismislab

He often takes fun in tweets. However, some media outlets take his sarcasm seriously and start making news sparking controversies. Later it is found that the news was fake. Even the Prime Minister of India has been baffled by his tweets! This time, his tweet regarding Pakistan cricket captain Babar Azam has put a question mark on the ‘dignity’ of several local and foreign newsrooms.

Let’s take a look at the Twitter account before delving in deep.

The tweets come from a verified account named “Dr Nimo Yadav”. However, the account username is Nirav Modi (@niiravmodi), a pseudonym. Nirav Modi in real life is an Indian businessman; Who fled to London after laundering around 2 billion Indian rupees. He has been detained in London’s Wandsworth prison since March 2019. 

The account was created for tweeting satire which is done regularly. Account bio reads, “Parody Account, Athlete, Researcher, Former Ranji Player, Fact-Checker, IIT KGP”. Still, many are confused by his tweets including top-of-the-line media houses. The tweet about Babar Azam is one such. 

The tweet made on January 16, with a picture and a video, said, “Babar Azam is sexting with another Pakistani cricketer’s girlfriend and promising that her boyfriend won’t be kicked out of the group if she continues sexting with him (Babar)…” 

It didn’t take long for the tweet to go viral. When the media began to report the tweet as the source of the viral news, it spread even faster. No local or foreign media missed out on the coverage. However, some Indian media outlets reported the issue with more “enthusiasm”. Be it small or large, all media conglomerates presented the news with extra importance. An Indian television channel even hosted a talk show on the so-called scandal. This role of the media has been heavily criticised.

Dr Nimo Yadav himself put the breaks on the viral news that was spreading like wildfire. He took down his tweet and tweeted a reply to Fox Cricket’s article on Babar Azam’s so-called affair saying, “Delete this tweet, “bf in team for sexting” story is false, I did this in a satirical way.” After that, Fox Cricket then removed the news. But some Indian media such as Ajatak, NDTV, and Hindustan Times still had the news on air and on their portals. Dr Nimo Yadav wrote another tweet to them saying, “Bro, I have removed my tweet…”

After that, the incident progressed further. Dr Nimo Yadav apologized to Babar and promised to be careful in the future. However, he also said that he doesn’t think he needs to put a ‘disclaimer’ on every tweet. Because according to him, his followers already know the jokes he makes. 

The Print, Asia Net has published detailed reports on how Dr Nimo Yadav’s parody tweet about Babar Azam went viral. 

Dismislab contacted the person behind the account the very next day. The conversation took place on Twitter. He also told Dismislab how he created the news of Babar. Noting, “I was inspired by the famous Bollywood movie Sholay.” “In this movie, dacoit Gabbar Singh tells the heroine Basanti that her lover will live as long as she dances,” he said. 

He also noted that the alleged picture and video of Babar Azam used in the tweet were taken from an Instagram account named Esha Rajput. Later that account vanished. 

Earlier, he confused the communications cell of the Indian Prime Minister with such parody tweets. The ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign was launched by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the election campaign in 2019. A tweet in support of the campaign was followed by a tweet from Indian Prime Minister Modi’s verified Twitter account, tagging the ‘Nirav Modi’ account. However, it was later taken down, according to Indian newspaper The Statesman

Following the incident, he came under intense attack online and changed his Twitter profile name to Nimo Yadav from Nirav Modi out of fear. However, his username remains the same.

But why the name Nirav Modi? As per the account owner, he decided to open a parody account on his birthday in February 2018, when the Indian media was abuzz with the Nirav Modi money scandal. That is why the account was opened in this name, he said.

Although the location of this account is given in Lahore, Pakistan, “Dr Nimo Yadav” said in the conversation that he is an Indian and lives in India. At first, the account location was ‘Kharagpur’ in India. However, he changed his Twitter location to Lahore, Pakistan in protest when some Pakistani users insulted him as an ‘agent’ of India.

He enjoys discussing, criticizing, and arguing about his tweets. “when you grab all attention you feel so good” he said. He also added the following picture to express his feelings in the message. 

However, Dr Nimo Yadav advised the media to be responsible. Especially, when it comes to publishing sensational news taken from social media. He said, “Media should be more responsible, they should do their own ground work before posting something sensational. WhatsApp forwards and tweets should be verified thrice before making to news in media.”

The last question was, is it irresponsible to tweet like this? He said, No, it was not irresponsible. I deleted the tweet because I wanted the thing to get cool down. Otherwise if I wanted to gain mileage I won’t have deleted that.”