The Gujarat Police on Tuesday detained filmmaker Avinash Das from Mumbai for allegedly sharing a photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with suspended Indian Administrative Service officer Pooja Singhal, PTI reported.
Crime Branch Assistant Commissioner of Police DP Chudasama said that the filmmaker will be taken to Ahmedabad for further legal action.
The photo of Shah and Singhal shared by Das on May 8 was taken in 2017 at an event in Ranchi. The police alleged that the filmmaker shared the photo to defame the home minister and mislead citizens.
Singhal, the former mining department secretary of Jharkhand, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on May 12 in an alleged money-laundering case. The agency said that it seized over Rs 17 crore from the house of her chartered accountant Suman Kumar.
According to the first information report, Das claimed in a caption that the photo had been taken a few days before the suspended IAS officer’s arrest, although it had been clicked in 2017.
Das was also booked for allegedly insulting the national flag by posting a morphed photo on Facebook of a woman wearing the tricolour. He had posted the photo on March 17.
The 46-year-old filmmaker has been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 469 (forgery) and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act (transmitting obscene material).
He was also booked under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act and the Information Technology Act for allegedly posting the morphed photo on Facebook.
Das had moved the Gujarat High Court seeking anticipatory bail. The High Court, however, rejected his petition on June 27, observing that he had prima facie violated the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act.
On July 15, the filmmaker moved the Supreme Court to challenge the High Court order, according to PTI.
The 46-year-old filmmaker was raised in Patna. Das has previously worked as a journalist at the newspapers Dainik Bhaskar and Prabhat Khabar and the NDTV television network. He made his directing debut with the critically acclaimed Anaarkali of Aarah in 2017.
The film stars Swara Bhasker as a feisty singer and dancer standing up to a college administrator who has sexually assaulted her. Das was also the co-director of the first season of the Netflix series She.