The Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch said on Thursday it would soon arrest a fourth person in the Bulli Bai case. Neeraj Singh, a 28-year-old MBA from Odisha who the police believe was one of the brains behind the hate app, is already in custody and will be brought to the city on Friday, according to the Crime Branch.
DCP (cyber cell) Rashmi Karandikar told the Indian Express the police would soon arrest Singh and produce him before a magistrate court in Odisha, where they would move an application to bring the accused to Mumbai. She said Singh and Niraj Bishnoi, who allegedly created the Bulli Bai app, had been in touch on Twitter.
In a related development, the Bandra magistrate court will decide on the bail plea of the three other accused in the case on Thursday. One of them, Vishal Kumar Jha, 21, was sent to Arthur Road jail on Sunday, after recovering from Covid-19.
Shweta Singh, 18, another accused, is lodged at Byculla women’s jail. The third accused, Mayank Rawat, 21, has been in quarantine in suburban Kalina since he tested positive for the coronavirus last week.
On Tuesday the public prosecutor strongly objected to the bail stating they had deliberately committed a crime that could have created a law and order problem between two communities. The police told the court they would seek custody of Bishnoi, 21, and wanted to question both Jha and Bishnoi.
Meanwhile, a team from the Crime Branch’s cyber police station has left for Delhi to take custody of Bishnoi and Aumkareshwar Thakur, 26, wo allegedly created Sulli Deals, another app that had put women Muslim women for mock auction. Both were recently arrested by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell. The Crime Branch suspects the three accused it has arrested in the Bulli Bai case are connected to the Sulli Deals app as well.
Bishnoi, the main accused in the Bulli Bai case and a native of Assam, is alleged to have collected personal details including photos of 126 Muslim women and put them up for mock auction on the app along with obscene content. A second-year engineeringstudent of the Vellore Institute of Technology, Bhopal—which suspended him after his arrest on January 6—Bishnoi allegedly used the pseudonym Giyu, a Japanese gaming character, to conceal his real identity on social media. The police say he interacted with the three accused– Jha, also a second-year engineering student, Rawat, a BSc student, and Singh, 18, who has passed the HSC, as Giyu and that the others did not know Bishnoi’s real identity. On his instructions, the three allegedly uploaded content from the Bulli Bai app on Twitter. All the accused allegedly assumed Sikh names to make it look like that people from the minority community were behind the app targeting Muslim women.
It was through Bishnoi that the Special Cell managed to track down Thakur, a native of Indore. Bishnoi told police he had got the idea of creating the Bullibai app from Thakur, a BCA graduate. Even though an FIR was registered over the Sulli Deals app in August last year, Thakur was arrested only on January 9. In December 2021, Bishnoi allegedly created the Bulli Bai app, which led to an uproar following which the police arrested Thakur.