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Neither Virat nor Dhoni donated such huge amounts in the fight against COVID-19

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In view of few cricketers offering donations to deal with the second wave of the deadly pandemic and the increased oxygen shortage, a social media post claiming that Indian cricketer Virat Kohli has donated Rs. 21 crores to PM Cares fund is being shared widely across social media platforms. Another post that claims former captain MS Dhoni donated Rs. 15 crores is also doing rounds on social media. Through this article let’s fact-check the claim made in these posts.

The archived version of these posts can be found here & here.

Claim: Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni donated Rs. 21 crores & Rs. 15 crores to deal with COVID-19 crisis.

Fact: Recently Anushka Sharma announced that she & Virat would be providing assistance to India’s fight against COVID-19. However, she did not disclose any details about the quantum and form of assistance. During the initial days of the pandemic back in 2020, both Virat and Dhoni provided financial assistance through donations to the PM Cares Fund. However, the quantum of their donation is not what is being claimed. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.

Anushka Sharma recently on 02 May 2021 also pledged assistance to the country’s fight against COVID-19. She shared the news via a video message which she shared on her Instagram account. However, in this video, she did not mention anything about the quantum and form of assistance. In fact, she stated that they would disclose details of their assistance very soon and urged everyone to join hands in this movement. Times now has also reported the same.

According to this article, Royal Challengers Bangalore, the IPL franchise Virat Kohli is part of has also promised financial assistance for infrastructure related to oxygen support in India’s fight against COVID-19. However, the article did not mention the quantum of the assistance. We also could not find any news articles or reports stating Virat Kohli donated Rs. 21 crores to PM Cares Fund.

Further Google search with relevant keywords led us to 2020 Instagram post by Anushka Sharma, wife of Virat Kohli. Through this post, the couple had pledged financial assistance to PM Cares Fund & CM relief Fund (Maharashtra). However, the couple did not reveal the quantum of donation.

Further search led us to a news article by India Today which reported their donation to PM Cares Fund. In this article, quoting an anonymous source, India Today has reported that the couple has donated Rs. 3 crores to PM-CARES Fund. However, we could not independently verify the quantum of their donation.

As far as Dhoni’s donation is concerned, Google search with keywords yielded multiple 2020 news articles which reported Dhoni’s one lakh contribution to a charitable trust in order to battle the corona pandemic. However, we could not find any reports stating that Dhoni has contributed Rs. 15 crores to deal with the oxygen crisis which the country is facing. Search on his official social media accounts also provides no such information.

If at all they have made such a huge contribution, news agencies would have reported the same. However, there are no such reports on both these alleged donations.

In view of few foreign and national players pledging financial assistance in India’s fight against COVID-19, misleading posts like these are being shared on social media platforms.

To sum it up, neither Virat nor Dhoni donated such huge amounts in the fight against COVID-19.

Update (MAY 09, 2021): Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma on 07 May 2021 have donated INR 2 crore towards a fundraising campaign to aid India’s COVID-19 relief. They have announced their fund raising efforts through social media platforms which can be seen here and here. The campaign, aimed at raising a total of INR 7 crore (US$ 950,000 approx.), was launched on 07 May 2021, on the platform Ketto in association with the NGO, United Way of Bengaluru, with the beneficiary being ACT Grants, which, according to its website is a “social change movement for the start-up ecosystem in India”.

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