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Disha panicked when Thunberg leaked ‘toolkit’: Police quotes WhatsApp chats

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Ongoing investigation in the controversial ‘toolkit’ matter is now unraveling more shocking and malicious intensions behind its upload as Delhi Police on Monday claimed that they have retrieved WhatsApp chats exchanged between arrested climate activist Disha Ravi and Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg, who had tweeted the ‘toolkit’ on February 4 in connection with Republic day farmers’ protest.

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Delhi Police, who claims to have retrieved crucial WhatsApp chats from Disha’s phone revealed that the 22-year-old Disha had panicked when Greta accidentally leaked the toolkit and asked her to refrain from saying anything on it. The Bengaluru based climate activist, wanted to consult a lawyer fearing that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act could be used against them, citing the WhatsApp chats cops claimed.

Police also added that Disha’s other associates, advocate Nikita Jacob and Shantanu, were also on their radar, as they believed that the three were connected to each other through a woman associate of ‘Khalistani’ sympathiser, Mo Dhaliwal, who runs an organisation called ‘Poetic Justice Foundation’.

Disha was picked by Delhi Police at her Bengaluru home on February 13 evening and was charged with criminal conspiracy and sedition besides other offences. A Delhi court has awarded her police custody for five days.

“I am really sorry, we are all panicking here… But we will make sure you are in the clear,” read one of Disha’s messages to climate activist Greta Thunberg. Disha also asked Thunberg after the leak if they could refrain from saying anything at all for a while.

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“I am gonna talk to lawyers… I am sorry but our names are on it… We can literally get UAPA against us,” read another message sent to Thunberg.

Delhi Police claimed it was Disha who had sent the ‘toolkit’ document to Swedish climate activist on Telegram and also coaxed her to act on it. She also deleted a WhatsApp group and chats which had discussions about the ‘toolkit’, the cops said, adding that these prompted her arrest.

“Her arrest was made in the presence of her mother and local police. Her lawyer was informed and she was produced before the court as per established procedure. In the court, she was represented by a lawyer and the same finds mention in the court order,” joint commissioner Prem Nath said.

In a press conference, Delhi Police revealed how they traced down all the suspects of the ‘toolkit’ document. They said their first stop was the house of suspect Nikita, who is now on the run. “Her questioning and examination of her devices revealed that a woman named Puneet, who is based in Canada, connected Disha, Nikita and Shantanu with each other and to the pro-Khalistan Poet,” said the joint CP. Based on the information gathered from searches at Nikita’s house, separate teams were sent to Beed district to question Shantanu and to Bengaluru for investigating Disha.

“The team in Bengaluru was able to extract highly incriminating information from Disha’s phone. This information made it clear that Disha, along with her colleagues, Shantanu and Nikita , created and sent the toolkit Google document to others,” said Prem Nath.

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According to Delhi Police, the main aim of the ‘toolkit’ was to create misinformation and disaffection against the ruling government. “The toolkit sought to artificially amplify fake news and other falsehoods and precipitate action on January 26,” said the joint CP adding that after the violence of Republic day, a large number of instances of fake news, manipulated/edited videos instigating disaffection and misleading propaganda posts spreading discontent were observed on social media.

“On February 4, while monitoring social media, we came across a Google document titled Toolkit on Twitter. An initial investigation of this toolkit revealed that it was created by a pro-Khalistan group, Poetic Justice Foundation, and people associated with it,” said DCP Anyesh Roy. According to police, one section of this ‘toolkit’ document mentioned action points, under the title, “Prior Action”, such as a digital strike through hashtags on January 26 and a tweet storm from January 23.

There was mention of physical action on January 26 and entering Delhi for the tractor rally and returning to the border. “…Keeping in mind all these facts, Delhi Police registered a case under Sections 124-A, 153, 153-A and 120-B of IPC pertaining to sedition etc on February 4, 2021, and started investigations,” the joint commissioner said.

Delhi Police also talked about one Peter Friedrich mentioned in the toolkit document, saying they are probing why he was mentioned and how he was connected to the suspects in their case.

“The suspect has been running psy ops against India at ISI’s behest. He has been on the radar of the Indian security establishment since 2006. He first figured as an associate of Khalistani supporter Bhajan Singh Bhinder, alias Iqbal Chaudhary,” DCP P Manishi Chandra said. Bhinder, police alleged, came on the radar of US authorities after he attempted to buy military-grade weapons for ‘Khalistan’ groups.

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