The handle @balajikijaiin, which goes by the name of Hanuman Bhakt, and has a display picture of the Hindu deity Hanuman, did not exist on Twitter for at least a day.
On June 19, the anonymous Twitter user had taken objection to a tweet posted by Zubair in 2018, which showed an image of a hotel signboard repainted from “Honeymoon Hotel” to “Hanuman Hotel”. The account claimed that it was an insult to Hanuman and had tagged the Delhi Police and its Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations Unit.
Zubair’s lawyer has argued in the court that the image was a screenshot of a scene from a 1983 Hindi film.
At the time when Hanuman Bhakt tweeted about Zubair, it was the only post on the handle, and the account had only three followers.
On Wednesday morning, a message on the handle read: “This account doesn’t exist.”
However, now the handle is back online with four tweets and nearly 2,000 followers. One of the tweets is about the handle not existing anymore.
The first information report against Zubair was based on a complaint by Delhi Police Sub-Inspector Arun Kumar, who said he was monitoring social media when he came across the tweet by the handle @balajikijaiin. The police arrested the journalist on Monday evening.
Police seek information about the account from Twitter
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police have sent a notice to Twitter under Section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, asking it to provide details about the handle @balajikijaiin, The Indian Express reported.
The provision deals with the power of a court or police officer to issue summons seeking a document.
“We have asked them to provide IP log details of the anonymous Twitter handle @balajikijaiin, registration details of the account, mobile number, connected email ID, and device used by the user,” an unidentified police official told the newspaper.
This is after an additional public prosecutor representing the Delhi Police in court had argued that the account was not anonymous.
At a hearing on sending Zubair in police remand, his lawyer, Senior Advocate Vrinda Grover had argued: “If an anonymous Twitter handle chose to create mischief in the country, those reasons should be investigated I think. Abuse of legal process is writ large over here.”
To this, the public prosecutor said that the Twitter user was a “mere informer” and the complaint against Zubair cannot be called an anonymous one.
“He is not an anonymous complainant,” the public prosecutor contended. “His details are here. Without details, no one can get a Twitter account.
Zubair was produced at the Patiala House Court, where Magistrate Snigdha Sarvaria agreed to the prosecution’s arguments and remanded him in police custody till July 2. The police had said that Zubair has been booked in other cases as well and claimed that he was not cooperating in the investigation.
He has moved the Delhi High Court against the remand order and the matter will be heard on Friday.
Several press bodies have criticised Zubair’s arrest and called for his unconditional release. A spokesperson for United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday said that journalists anywhere in the world should not be jailed for what they write, tweet or say.