Neeraj Bishnoi, the alleged creator of the Bulli Bai app, had asked a co-accused to send photographs of 100 “famous non-BJP Muslim women” for putting them up for ‘auction’, Mumbai police has said in its chargesheet.
The city police’s cyber cell filed an over 2,000-page charge sheet in the suburban Bandra magistrate’s court in Mumbai last week. Its copy was made available on Wednesday.
The police has so far arrested six people in the case.
Citing a statement given by Niraj Singh, one of the arrested accused, the police claimed that in June 2020 iGiyu (Bishnoi’s user id) had told Singh that he was planning to do something big on their social media group.
Bishnoi then asked people in the group to send photos of “100 famous non-BJP Muslim women in India”, following which he was sent links and screenshots of several women’s Twitter handles.
As per the charge sheet, Bishnoi told them that after a few days, the application or app would be ready and no one would be able to copy or crack it.
Two or three days later, Singh found out from social media that a case had been registered against the app’s creators. He then asked all group members to delete their Twitter accounts and posts on the group and stay away from social media for a few days, the charge sheet stated.
The police have also alleged that the accused were asked to spread the word about the so-called auction on social media.
The accused deliberately used words related to Sikhism to make it appear as though the app, which targeted Muslim women, was created by persons belonging to the Sikh community, the chargesheet said. This was done to create a rift between the two communities and the timely arrest of the accused prevented law and order issues, it said.
The accused allegedly tracked down the accounts of Muslim women who were active on social media, downloaded their photographs without their consent, and conspired to sell them online for “immoral and obscene purposes,” the charge sheet stated.
All the accused were tech savvy and each of them had more than one Twitter, Instagram and Gmail accounts.
Bishnoi was the first to share the link of Bulli Bai app on his Twitter group and members of the group were fully aware that it would be used to target Muslim women, the police alleged. The accused Swetha Singh, Mayank Rawat, Bishnoi and Niraj Singh knew each other and were in touch with each other while committing the crime, the charge sheet stated.
Swetha Singh, who was a member of several Twitter and Instagram groups, was active on social media and often posted objectionable content, the chargesheet said.
The Mumbai police registered a First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified persons following complaints that doctored photographs of hundreds of Muslim women were uploaded for ‘auction’on the Bulli Bai app, hosted on the open-source software platform GitHub.
While there was no actual auction or sale, the purpose of the app seemed to be to humiliate and intimidate the targeted women, many of whom are active social media users.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)