New Delhi: The Mumbai cybercrime police probing the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case on Wednesday nabbed the main conspirator, Mayank Rawat (21), a BSc (Chemistry) student at Zakir Hussain College in Delhi University, from his house in Pauri Garhwal’s Kotdwar city in Uttarakhand. This is the third arrest in the case.
Earlier, Shweta Singh (18), a class XII passout, was arrested from Uttarakhand and Vishal Kumar Jha (21), a Bihar youth, was nabbed from Bengaluru where is studying engineering.
Police sources said that the ‘Bulli Bai’ Twitter handle – in which Muslim women were put up on an online ‘auction’ – was created by Singh and had five followers, including Rawat and Jha (he used two handles). Police are now on the lookout of the app creator and the other two followers of Singh’s Twitter handle.
“Neeraj Bishnoi, arrested from Assam by Delhi Police Special Cell’s IFSO team, is the main conspirator and creator of ‘Bulli Bai’ on GitHub and the main Twitter account holder of the app,” K P S Malhotra, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit, told media.
Police sources said Bishnoi is a second year engineering student at a Bhopal-based institute. He was arrested from his hometown in Assam’s Jorhat and will be brought to Delhi this afternoon, the source said.
This is the fourth arrest in the case that had sparked an uproar after prominent Muslim women journalists, lawyers and activists known to be vocal on social and political issues were targeted in the disgusting ‘auction’. As part of the ‘auction’, doctored photographs of the targets, who spanned age groups, were put up on social media networks.
The earlier three arrests were made by the cyber cell of Mumbai Police. 21-year-old student Mayank Rawal, 19-year-old Shweta Singh and engineering student Vishal Kumar Jha have been arrested earlier. Mumbai Police has said Shweta Singh is the mastermind in the case.
The controversy surfaced on January 1 as several Muslim women found themselves listed for ‘auction’.
The egregious app appeared to be a clone of ‘Sulli Deals’, which had triggered a row last year by offering users a ‘sulli’ – an insulting term used by right-wing trolls for Muslim women. That was hosted by the same platform, GitHub.
Several Opposition leaders, including Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, had urged the government to crack down on the platform and bring those behind it to justice.