Fact check: Journalist misidentified as lawyer of YSRCP leader who was caught breaking EVMs on camera

The man in question is an editor with the Telugu Post. He is not one of the lawyers representing MLA P. Ramakrishna Reddy in the EVM destruction case.

Screenshot of a post that misidentified Pinnelli’ Ramakrishna’s lawyer Niranjan Reddy.
Screenshot of a post that misidentified Pinnelli’ Ramakrishna’s lawyer Niranjan Reddy.

Social media users have shared a collage showing a man in a blue shirt against a red background with two other images, claiming that the individual is the lawyer of Pinnelli  Ramakrishna Reddy, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) Member of Legislative Party (MLA) from the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. On May 13, when Andhra Pradesh polled for the Assembly elections and also voted for some constituencies for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, Pinnelli was allegedly caught breaking Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in a polling booth on camera.


In this context, several social media posts (archived here and here) are circulating claiming that the man in the collage, donning a blue shirt, is the MLA’s lawyer, Niranjan Reddy, who argued on the latter’s behalf in the court.

This viral collage also featured Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, advisor to the Government of Andhra Pradesh, in a white shirt on the left and a movie scene from a Telugu movie ‘Athadu,’ featuring actors Brahmanandham and Trisha at the bottom. One user had posted the collage on social media with the caption implying that Pinnelli’s lawyer argued in the court that the video showing EVM and VVPAT machine being vandalized was ‘fake.’

Screenshot of the claim circulating online. 

However, the man in question is not Pinnelli’s lawyer. He is a Telangana-based senior journalist.


A reverse image search on the viral photo led us to the website of Telugu Post, a Telangana-based news and fact-checking outlet. We found the exact photo of the man used in the viral collage in the editorial staff section of the website. According to the website, the man in the photograph, standing against a red background, is Ravi Batchali, an editor who has nearly thirty years of experience in journalism.

Screenshot of Ravi Batchali’s profile available on the Telugu Post website (Source: Telugu Post)

Logically Facts contacted Batchali, who told us that he was misidentified in viral collage. He added, “I have never attended law school or have any law-related experience. I have only been a journalist for the past 30 years. We have also notified X (Twitter) about the wrong usage of the photo.”

It is to be noted that some news outlets, like The Times of India, have mentioned a lawyer named Niranjan Reddy in their reports about the case against the YSRCP MLA, but a photograph of the lawyer is not publicly available yet. We accessed court records and found that advocate Ramalakshmana Reddy Sanepalli is officially representing Pinnelli in the EVM destruction case.

For further confirmation, Logically Facts contacted R Yella Reddy, an Andhra Pradesh High Court lawyer who usually deals with cases related to the YSRCP. He confirmed that the man in the now-viral collage neither advocates Niranjan Reddy nor Ramalakshamana Reddy Sanepalli.

Speaking about the case against the MLA, Yella Reddy said, “It is senior counsel T Niranjan Reddy who is arguing the case.” He further explained that in certain cases, an advocate files a petition on behalf of the client while a senior counsel argues the case in court.

The EVM destruction case

YSRCP’s Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy, who is the MLA from Macherla Constituency, was allegedly seen barging into a room and breaking and smashing EVMs on May 13. The Election Commission of India demanded police action against the MLA, who was on the run shortly after the incident. He soon filed a petition in court seeking anticipatory bail, and the Andhra High Court granted him interim protection from arrest till June 6, according to a report in The Hindu.

Hindustan Times reported that during a hearing for the interim bail, Pinnelli’s lawyer, Niranjan Reddy, argued before the court that the election commission demanded action based on a video released by a leader of the Telugu Desam Party, YSRCP’s rival, and questioned the motive. He argued that the poll panel cannot depend upon a video released by an opposition party leader, as it could be ‘morphed.’

Conclusion: In the viral social media posts, senior Telugu journalist Ravi Batchali has been misidentified as Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy’s lawyer, Niranjan Reddy. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

(This fact check article was originally published by Logically Facts and has been republished by Lighthouse Journalism as a part of Shakti collective.)