The Maharashtra Police have registered at least 10 FIRs against individuals for allegedly posting defamatory content on social media against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray in the aftermath of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death in June, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.
The police have already arrested four of the individuals named in the FIRs and are on the look out for others. Quoting the police, The Indian Express reported that following Rajput’s death, “coordinated attacks” were carried out against the Thackeray-led government.
The Mumbai Police too on Tuesday released a press note stating that an investigation by cyber and forensic experts into hashtags such as #Babypenguin, #JusticeforSSR, and #ParamBirSinghResign had found “that the accounts were recently created”, according to the report.
Some of the arrested individuals face multiple FIRs and have been identified as being “associated with or are seen to be sympathetic towards” the Bharatiya Janata Party, according to The Indian Express. One individual, Sameet Thakkar, who has been named in three FIRs, claims in his Twitter bio to have been followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sunaina Holey, who has also been named in three FIRs,according to The Indian Express, describes herself as a “Swayamsevika”, a term Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers, use for themselves. Holey has reportedly approached the Bombay High Court asking that the FIRs be clubbed together.
Most of the FIRs have been filed under sections relating to defamation and Information Technology Act, and have been registered by advocate Dharam Mishra, who is a member of the legal cell of Thackeray’s party Shiv Sena. Over the past two days, Mishra has been tweeting screenshots and reports related to the matter.
“Most of the accused in the FIRs are supporters of BJP, and my question to the BJP is, how will they justify the tweets posted by these persons...” Mishra said, speaking to The Indian Express. “Some of them proudly proclaim they are followed by PM Modi. The PM should audit the kind of accounts he is following.”
‘Law should be equal for everyone,’ says BJP
BJP MLA Ashish Shelar said that the allegations were “humbug”, according to The Indian Express. “If the Maharashtra government does not like being attacked, what about those attacking the central government?” he said. “The law should be equal for everyone. What locus standi do people have to write against the prime minister?”
Arguing Thakkar’s remand, his lawyer Prakash Jaiswal told the court that the state government was indulging in “political intolerance”.
“He [Thakkar] was brought to court with his face covered by black cloth, with a massive police presence as though he was a terrorist,” he told The Indian Express. “It was a clear sign that he was being targeted for political reasons.”