Comedy Collective, AIB, against which an FIR was registered by the Mumbai police last week for posting a meme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a Snapchat’s dog filter on Twitter, may get off the hook. Based on the police investigations in the case so far, officers probing the case said prima facie the case was not fit for filing charges. At this stage, the officers said, there was a high probability that the case against the AIB will be dropped. Instead, a C-summary report, filed in cases where investigations reveal “mistake in law or facts”, seems likely, a senior officer said.
“With the facts on record, it does not appear to be a case fit for a chargesheet. We are yet to record the statement of Tanmay Bhatt, who had tweeted the meme, and a few others. Unless some new facts emerge, we will most likely be filing a C-summary report in the case. However, that will be done once our investigation is over,” a senior officer linked to the probe told The Indian Express. “C-summary reports are filed in cases where police investigation concludes that an FIR was registered due to a mistake in facts or law and not out of any malicious intent on the part of anyone,” the officer added.
The police on Friday registered an FIR against AIB under Section 67 (publishing obscene content) of the Information Technology Act and Section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code. An officer linked to the case said they had registered an FIR in the first place since someone had tagged the Mumbai police twitter handle to the tweet that carried the meme. According to procedure, since it was a digital content, the tweet was marked to the cyber police station.
“The tweet that tagged Mumbai police soon started getting a lot of publicity online. Based on the complaint, prima facie, the cyber police decided to registered an FIR. However, after preliminary investigations,we have not found anything based on which they could be charged,” the officer said. The Mumbai police reply to Reetesh Maheshwari that the case was forwarded to cyber police, was retweeted 241 times till Tuesday. The team investigating is likely to summon Bhatt to record his statement in line with procedure.
On Thursday, AIB had put up a twitter post with the photograph of PM Modi. The post used a Snapchat’s dog filter for Modi’s photo and posted it along with a photograph of a Modi-lookalike looking into his phone. However, soon some people took offence at the post and a twitter user — Reetesh Maheshwari — tagged the Mumbai police twitter handle and complained about the post. The Mumbai police tweeted back saying that the complaint had been forwarded to the cyber police station. By Friday evening, the post was taken down. Later on Saturday, the BKC cyber police station registered an FIR against the group.