A Mumbai court on Friday sent two accused persons in a case related to an app on which more than 100 prominent Muslim women were listed for an “online auction” to 14-day judicial custody, reported ANI.

After the order was pronounced, the accused persons, Shweta Singh and Mayank Rawat, filed their bail pleas at the Bandra court. Rawat’s lawyer Sandeep Sherkhane said that the court will hear the case on January 17.

Both the accused persons were in police custody, which ended on Friday.

In the case, 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. The app, which was hosted on web platform GitHub, has since taken it down following outrage on social media.

Besides Rawat and Singh, the police have also arrested Vishal Kumar Jha, a 21-year-old engineering student, and Neeraj Bishnoi, allegedly the main conspirator in the case.

On Friday, only Singh was produced before the court as Rawat had tested positive for the coronavirus, the Mumbai Police said. Jha and the investigating officer in the case have also tested positive for the infection, reported Bar and Bench.

During the hearing, the prosecution alleged that Bishnoi had alerted the other accused persons after which they deleted their Twitter handles. The prosecution then sought that the police remand of the accused persons be extended to conduct further investigation into this aspect.

However, the defence lawyers opposed the request, saying that the accused persons have submitted all details regarding their email and social media accounts. He said they have also been in police custody for over eight days.

‘Online auction’ of women

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 had made no arrests till the “Bulli Bai” matter came to the fore.

On January 9, the Delhi Police arrested Aumkareshwar Thakur, who allegedly created the “Sulli Deals” app. He is the first person to be arrested in the case.

On the same day, 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” case.

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.

Also read:

  1. Why it’s not really shocking that a young woman is involved in the ‘Bulli Bai’ case
  2. Harassment of Indian Muslim women on apps must be prosecuted, says UN official