India’s Prime Minister has been caught up in a row over “fake news” after an image of St Andrews was used to illustrate a message about him cleaning litter from a beach in his home country.
The image was posted in a Tweet by one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s MPs, Karti Chidambaram.
The Tweet show a series of photographs of Mr Modi cleaning up Mamallapuram beach in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
But one of the images – showing a camera crew purportedly recording the clean-up for posterity – was actually taken in St Andrews more than a decade ago.
It was lifted from the website of TayScreen, the company set up to promote Tayside and Fife as locations for movie and television productions.
Jai Shree Ram! pic.twitter.com/tGrYcdxOXE
— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) October 12, 2019
The picture was rapidly identified as a fake by a number of other Twitter users and Indian fact-checking organisations.
The uncropped image clearly shows the picture was taken on West Sands with St Andrews landmarks such as Rule Tower clearly visible in the background.
— 🇮🇳 சிவா – शिव – Shiva 🇮🇳 (@CXBusters) October 12, 2019
Karti Chidambaram later Tweeted he had been “wrong” in his choice of photo, before adding “I never overtly suggested that the pictures were connected”.
The Congress MP’s father, a former finance minister, is currently in jail as part of an investigation into a high-profile money-laundering case in India.
His son has also been implicated in the INX Media scandal but denies any wrongdoing.
TayScreen manager Julie Craik was only alerted to the issue when she was contacted about the image by The Times of India, one of the world’s biggest selling newspapers.
She confirmed the photograph was one she had taken while filming was carried out in St Andrews in 2005.
She said: “I was intrigued to be contacted by the Times of India to check out the story about Prime Minister Modi.
“We are always delighted to help productions from everywhere get amazing locations in Dundee, Fife and Tayside, so it was fascinating to see St Andrews West Sands being used in this particular way to double for India.”