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Threat to journalist, activists: With no IP address, investigation hits roadblock

Sources in the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing said that days after lodging an FIR, they had written to Facebook, asking them to share the IP address of an account under the name ‘VirkamAditya Rana’, which had been deleted after Ghose filed a complaint and a case was lodged on September 7.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
Updated: March 11, 2018 12:02:23 pm
Threat to journalist, activists: With no IP address, probe hits roadblock Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017. In the wake of her death, a Facebook user had issued a ‘hit list’ of names that should suffer the same fate.

Police probing a threatening Facebook message directed at journalist Sagarika Ghose, writers Shobhaa De and Arundhati Roy and activists Kavitha Krishnan and Shehla Rashid appear to have hit a dead end, after a phone number provided by the social networking website to police was found to have no connection to the accused.

Instead, the number belonged to a resident of Meghalaya who, police found, had no link to the “hit list”, posted online in the wake of journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder in Bengaluru.

Each person who registers on Facebook has to provide a phone number — but in this case, the contact details given by the accused while making his account were fake, police said.

Sources in the Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing said that days after lodging an FIR, they had written to Facebook, asking them to share the IP address of an account under the name ‘VirkamAditya Rana’, which had been deleted after Ghose filed a complaint and a case was lodged on September 7.

However, the website only gave police a phone number, which the user had provided at the time of making a profile. “Police treated this as a major breakthrough and, after discovering that the person was from Meghalaya, began preparations to send a team there,” police sources said. READ: Gauri Lankesh murder accused to be taken to Goa, Belgaum to retrace conspiracy

Before sending a team, police scanned call detail records of the person, and it emerged that he had no links with the said post or the profile it was made from.

Police checked several details about him through informers, but did not find anything amiss, sources said. This, an officer said, has put police in a spot, with little to go on unless they are provided with the IP address.

The post by the accused read: “Not an iota of sympathy for Lankesh, and the killers should have shredded her body with bullets and even blasted apart her apartment. Serves her and her kind right for the damages these so-called journos have caused our nation (sic).”

In another post, the accused wrote, “Let d shooting of #GauriLankesh serve as example to those anti-nationals who masquerade as journalists & activists. I hope this is not d last. should be episode of serial assassinations of all anti-nationals. Shobhaa De; Arundhati Roy; Sagarika Ghose; Kavitha Krishnan; Shiela (Shehla) Rashid etc at d end of a list that should start with anti-national & treacherous politicians. A hit list be prepared & eliminate all those on d list. At last a ray of hope (sic).”

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