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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Women’s doctored photos online: Mumbai Police detain civil engineering student in Bengaluru

A senior IPS officer confirmed that the student has been detained and brought to Mumbai for inquiry.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: January 4, 2022 11:18:08 am
DetainedThe second-year civil engineering student was allegedly running one of the Twitter handles that were used for uploading the doctored photos from the app. Police have not revealed his identity yet.

Mumbai Police on Monday detained a 21-year-old engineering student from Bengaluru in connection with the complaints that a website had hosted doctored, “lewd” pictures and objectionable comments “aimed at insulting Muslim women”.

“The 21-year-old is a second-year civil engineering student. He used his Twitter handle to share derogatory content from the Bulli Bai app. We have detained him,” said a senior IPS officer.

The officer added that the student was traced through the IP address of the Twitter accounts that were used to upload the pictures. The student has not been arrested yet, he said. When asked if the student was also involved in developing the app or is part of a larger gang, the officer replied, “We will be questioning him about all this.”

Minister of State for Home (Urban) Satej Patil tweeted, “Mumbai Police has got a breakthrough. Though we cannot disclose the details at this moment as it may hamper the ongoing investigation, I would like to assure all the victims that we are proactively chasing the culprits & they will face the law very soon.”

Based on a complaint registered by a woman, who is among those from the minority community targeted by the app, Mumbai Police Crime Branch’s cyber police station (west) had lodged an FIR against unknown persons who developed the application and certain Twitter handles that shared the objectionable content. The FIR was registered for “stalking, defaming, promoting enmity, posting lewd comments among several other sections of the IPC”. The Twitter handles have since been deactivated and the application removed by the host on January 1, a day after it was created.

A journalist had first raised the issue on social media after being allegedly targeted by the makers of the application. Soon after, Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Priyanka Chaturvedi and Patil took up the issue with Maharashtra’s cyber police department.

While the journalist registered an FIR with the Delhi Police, another woman who was also among the victims lodged an FIR with Mumbai Police Crime Branch’s cyber (west) police station. The FIR was registered on January 1 under sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 153(B) (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295(A)(deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings)  354D (stalking), 509 (insulting modesty), 500 (defamation)  and 67 (transmitting obscene content in electronic form) IT Act.

The accused in the case are the app’s developer and unidentified Twitter handle holders who uploaded the doctored images of the women. The app was hosted on US based GitHub on December 31.

IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had earlier tweeted, “GitHub confirmed blocking the user this morning itself. CERT and Police authorities are coordinating further action.”

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