Updated: April 14, 2021 7:35:45 am
Kishan Rupani would spend hours on his cellphone, posting and commenting on social media. The 28-year-old’s family did not think much of it until Monday, when police came looking for him.
Hours later, Kishan was arrested for allegedly morphing a video of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani using Taylor Swift’s song, ‘I knew you were trouble’, and circulating it on social media. He was let out on bail later after his statement was recorded.
“We have never seen a police station nor have the police come home in my entire life. This is the first time, because of my son, that the police have come to my home,” Arvindbhai Rupani, Kishan’s father, told The Indian Express on Tuesday. “We would see my son sitting for hours with his mobile phone, but I am sure my son is innocent and he has not done anything to defame such an important person.”
Seated on a diwan in a two-bedroom flat in Singhanpore area of Surat, the 70-year-old’s eyes turned moist as he read the local newspapers which carried the news of his younger son’s arrest.
Arvindbhai said he and his family – wife, elder son Ankit, 30, and Kishan – moved to Surat 12 years ago from Bhavnagar, where he ran a small diamond cutting and polishing business. He had to shut that business after the industry was hit by recession.
“We faced financial crises, but Kishan was working in a textile embroidery factory in Surat. We wound up our business, sold our house in Bhavnagar and came to Surat,” he said.
Kishan, who had passed class 12 from a Gujarati-medium school in Bhavnagar, had by then started a small embroidery factory on a rented premises. His father and elder brother, who had studied till class 10, joined him.
“After coming to Surat, we first stayed in a rented house on Ved Road. Six years ago, we bought this flat. Our embroidery business [Rupani Fashions] turned out well,” Arvindbhai said. Ankit got married a few years ago. The family, however, had to bear a loss in 2017 when Arvindbhai lost his only daughter, Radhika, who was married, to an illness.
With their business looking up, the family was thinking of buying the premises on which their factory is located but then the Covid lockdown came as a setback, said Ankit.
“With no business, we faced great financial losses and pulled through with savings. There are 20 people working in my factory looking after six machines. The factory runs round the clock. Sometimes I go to the factory at night and at other times Kishan goes to the factory. During day time, Kishan goes to the textile market in search of new clients as he is much smarter in business dealings. I mostly took after production,” he said.
It was from this factory premises that Kishan was picked by police on Monday.
DCP Surat crime branch Rahul Patel said Kishan posted the morphed video for ‘likes’ on his social media accounts. “We have questioned Kishan [about the post on CM Rupani]. He would make videos and photos on issues and put it on Instagram and WhatsApp groups to get more likes and followers. He knew this was the chief minister, yet he morphed it to to get more likes.”
Kishan’s Instagram handle – gujju_smaily – has more than 50,000 followers.
Patel said the police came across the video while scanning social media for fake news related to Covid. “We have seized his mobile phone and sent it to the Forensic Science Laboratory to get more information.”
According to Ankit, Kishan was “addicted” to social media. “Seeing him commenting on photos, I had warned him many times against it but he never listened,” he said.
He hoped that Kishan has “learnt his lesson”. “I have strictly told him not to upload anything on Instagram or Whatsapp groups as it has landed us in trouble as our family respect is at stake. We are hopeful that from now, he will concentrate on business,” the elder brother said.
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