The main conspirator in the case related to an app on which more than 100 prominent Muslim women were listed for an “online auction” was arrested on Friday from Assam, the Delhi Police said, ANI reported.
The accused identified as Neeraj Bishnoi was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell’s Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations team. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations) KPS Malhotra said that the 20-year old is the creator of the ‘Bulli Bai’ app that was used to target the women.
Bishnoi, an engineering student at the Vellore Institute of Technology in Bhopal is also the “main Twitter account holder of the app”, the police said. He lives in the Digambar area of Assam’s Jorhat city.
He is the fourth person to be arrested in the case and is being brought to Delhi.
Malhotra told PTI that Bishnoi has confessed to creating the app and that forensic remnants of the app were found on his laptop.
“...Most importantly, we’ve acquired technical evidence required from his laptop & mobile,” the officer said, according to ANI. “Whole network has been busted.”
The officer said that he will produced in court on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the Vellore Institute of Technology, Bhopal has suspended Bishnoi with immediate effect, ANI reported. An order by the institute stated that it has taken the action against him for “bringing disrepute to the University and defaming the name of the Institute.”
Photos of the Muslim women were taken from their social media accounts without permission and displayed on the app for “sale” as “Bulli Bai” of the day last week. The app, which was hosted on web platform GitHub, has since taken it down following outrage on social media.
This was the second attempt in recent months to harass Muslim women in the country by “auctioning” them online.
In July, an app called “Sulli Deals” had posted hundreds of images of Muslim women and described them as “deals of the day”. Both “Bulli” and “Sulli” are derogatory words used to refer to Muslim women.
The police in Noida and Delhi had registered separate cases in connection with the “Sulli Deals” app, but no arrests have been made so far.
On Sunday, the Mumbai and Delhi police had registered a first information report against unknown culprits under Indian Penal Code Sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups based on religion), 153B (assertions that damage national integrity), 354A (punishment for sexual harassment), and 509 (insult to modesty of a woman) for the “Bulli Bai” auction.
Additionally, the Mumbai Police had also invoked Indian Penal Code Sections 295A (malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 500 (defamation), and Section 67 (punishment for publishing lewd content) of the Information Technology Act.