The Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Wednesday arrested one more person from Uttarakhand for allegedly posting obscene and derogatory content on an online app called ‘Bulli Bai’ that hosted doctored photographs of Muslim women.
Mayank Rawal, 21, was in touch with the other accused in the case: Shweta Singh, 18, and Vishal Kumar Jha, 21.
The police said the three are part of a larger team. Like Mayank, Shweta and Vishal were allegedly handling multiple Twitter accounts to post the ‘obscene’ content.
Shweta is from Bulandshahr district in Uttar Pradesh, the police said. She was arrested from Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand after the arrival of a Mumbai Police team.
Mumbai Police sources said Shweta was identified based on information revealed by Vishal, who was detained in Bengaluru and brought to Mumbai late on Monday.
According to the sources, Vishal and Shweta became friends on social media and created the app together. “Four Twitter accounts were used to upload pictures on social media, of which three accounts were being handled by the woman, while the fourth account was being managed by Vishal,” said a senior police officer.
Investigating officers said Vishal created an account with the name ‘Khalsa Supremacist’ to mislead others into believing that it was being operated by a non-Hindu. “In order to make the account look more genuine, they created a few fake Twitter accounts under Sikh names, all of which followed ‘Khalsa Supremacist’,” said the officer.
On December 31, they changed the name of one of their handles to ‘Justice for Sikh’, the sources said.
Meanwhile, Vishal, who is from Bihar, was produced before a magistrate court in Mumbai, which conducted in-camera proceedings on Tuesday afternoon. He is in police custody till January 10.
“The police, in their remand application, said they want to conduct searches at his residence and collect documents related to the case. They said there are more accused in the case, and hence the proceedings were conducted behind closed doors,” said Vishal’s advocate, Dinesh Pragmati.
The Bulli Bai app had listed Muslim women including students, journalists and social workers for “auction” along with their morphed photographs sourced illegally. Hundreds of Muslim women were listed for “auction” on the app with photographs sourced without permission and doctored. It has happened for the second time in less than a year. The app appeared to be a clone of Sulli Deals which triggered a similar row last year.
GitHub, the hosting platform, blocked the app following complaints about objectionable content.