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Filmmaker Avinash Das arrested, has history of fake posts: Ahmedabad Crime Branch

On May 8, Das had posted the photo of Shah and Singhal speaking to each other during a public event in Jharkhand’s capital of Ranchi in 2017. Singhal was arrested by the ED on May 11 this year after it had conducted raids at several places in India regarding money laundering.

Avinash Das, Amit ShahFilmmaker Avinash Das outside Crime branch office in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (EXPRESS PHOTO)

Filmmaker Avinash Das was arrested in Ahmedabad early Wednesday, a day after he was detained by the Ahmedabad police for allegedly posting a photograph on social media of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with Jharkhand IAS officer Pooja Singhal, who was recently arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering.

On May 8, Das had posted the photo of Shah and Singhal speaking to each other during a public event in Jharkhand’s capital of Ranchi in 2017. Singhal was arrested by the ED on May 11 this year after it had conducted raids at several places in India regarding money laundering.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Chaitanya Mandalik, deputy commissioner of police, Crime Branch, Ahmedabad City Police, said, “It is the duty of every Indian citizen to respect our national flag. Our social media team was on the watch when we got to know about a filmmaker Avinash Das who posted an indecent display of our national flag on social media thereby insulting it.”

“He had also posted a picture of Union Home Minister in a manner to harm his reputation. An FIR was filed in this regard at the DCB (Detection of Crime Branch) police station. After many attempts, Das was detained in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon and brought to Ahmedabad. He has been formally arrested at 4 am on Wednesday morning and legal procedure is going on right now. We are seeking remand of seven days,” added Mandlik.

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Mandlik said that primary investigation has revealed that Das had allegedly posted many “fake and misleading posts” in the past on his social media accounts.

“We had an informal discussion with Das till now and he has not been able to reply clearly, so further questioning will reveal facts. He has had a history of posting fake and wrong posts on social media. He had posted a picture on social media where people were lying on ground during the Covid pandemic and he had written the caption as ‘somewhere in Gujarat’, but the picture was of some other place. Likewise, he has posted many fake photos and posts in the post. We have also found a post where he has described Hindu Gods and Goddesses in an obscene manner,” he added.

In an FIR filed at DCB police station in Ahmedabad on May 13, Das was booked under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)’s section 469 for forgery to harm the reputation of a person. In the same FIR, Das was also booked under the sections of prevention of insult to national honour act for allegedly sharing a “morphed picture of a woman wearing a tricolour” on Facebook.

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Das had approached the Bombay High Court, the sessions court in Ahmedabad, Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court to seek anticipatory bail. However, the courts had rejected his petitions while his matter was pending in the Supreme Court on July 22.

Das had moved the Gujarat High Court with the offer of issuing an unconditional apology for the social media posts, but the court had rejected it and ruled that it is “prima facie clear that the act (of allegedly insulting the national flag)” was “deliberate and not unintentional”.

When asked about the apology offer made by Das, Mandalik said, “Apology is not accepted in legal matters and arrest has been done in furtherance of legal action. We will seek remand and question him regarding the posts he has uploaded in the past as well.”

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Das hails from Darbhanga in Bihar and is the director of the critically acclaimed movie Anaarkali of Aarah, the Netflix series She and the Zee5 film Raat Baaki Hai.

First published on: 20-07-2022 at 02:48:47 pm
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