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Desi analyst slammed for inaccurate tweets over Sandy

November 06, 2012 21:09 IST

When anonymous tweeter @Comfortablysmug tweeted 'Breaking: Confirmed flooding at NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) The trading floor is flooded under more than 3 feet of water,' it was picked up by the National Weather Service, the Weather Channel and CNN.

The tweeter was unmasked as Shashank Tripathi, a Wall Street analyst and campaign manager for Christopher Wight, the Republican Congressional candidate from New York's District 12.

He was associated with the campaign of Ashok Chandra, when he contested for the New York City Council in 2009.

After denial by an NYSE spokesperson, Tripathi, 29, posted an hour later that 'NYSE did not flood.

And after coming under attack for his tweets, he apologised: 'I wish to offer the people of New York a sincere, humble and unconditional apology. During a national disaster that threatened the entire city, I made a series of irresponsible and inaccurate tweets. While some would use the anonymity and instant feedback of social media as an excuse, I take full responsibility for my actions. I deeply regret any distress or harm they may have caused.'

He also resigned as Wight's campaign manager.

Accepting the resignation, Wight -- who is contesting against Representative Carolyn Maloney, a popular incumbent -- said, "Yesterday was a very tough day for me and for my campaign staff -- just as it was for many New Yorkers. Not only are we reeling from the shock of Hurricane Sandy's destruction to our communities and surrounding areas, but I also remain shocked and disgusted by the actions of my former campaign manager, Shashank Tripathi.

"His actions were all the more distressing, occurring as they did, in the midst of Monday's disastrous weather -- during a time when no one was truly safe," Wight added. "I learned from online reports yesterday, just as others did, that Shashank had been spreading false information from a personal and anonymous Twitter account. While he had been with my campaign for seven months, I had no indication that he was capable of the type of behavior he exhibited. I immediately accepted Shashank's resignation."

New York City Councilman Peter Vallone, who said the tweets could be the digital equivalent of shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theater, suggested that Tripathi be prosecuted, according to media reports.

Twitter said it would not consider suspending Tripathi's account unless it received a request from a law enforcement agency, according to the Daily Mail.

George Joseph in New York