An 18-year-old woman named Shweta Singh, who was arrested by the Mumbai police on Tuesday in connection with the Bulli Bai app case from Uttarakhand, is believed to be the prime accused in the case, the police said.
Speaking to the media the Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said that Shweta is from Rudrapur in Uttarakhand and that she belongs to a poor family. “It seems she got involved in such activities for money,” ANI quoted the DGP.
Shweta is a Class 10 pass-out from Uttrakhand. She has lost both her parents in recent years. Her father died of Covid while her mother died of cancer in 2011. She was preparing for engineering. She has two sisters and the family is earning around Rs 13,000 per month. They get Rs 3,000 from the Vatsalya Yojana, a scheme of the Uttarakhand government for Covid orphan kids. Her father worked with a manufacturing unit that provided the family Rs 10,000 rs per month.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale on Wednesday said that the third accused Mayank Rawal (21) is Shweta’s friend. He also reacted to the Uttarakhand DGP’s comments on the case and said that giving out versions on the case ‘was not required’.
“We have apprehended these people from different places and some local authorities have given some versions about it, which I feel, was not required. They were not aware of the details of the case. Generally, we don’t speak about cases of other states,” he said.
The cyber cell of Mumbai police had earlier arrested Mayank Rawal (21) from Uttarakhand and engineering student Vishal Kumar Jha (21) from Bengaluru in connection with the case.
The Mumbai police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified persons following complaints that doctored photographs of hundreds of Muslim women were uploaded for ‘auction’ on the app called `Bulli Bai’, hosted on the open-source software platform GitHub.
While there was no actual auction or sale, the purpose of the app seemed to be to humiliate and intimidate the targeted women, many of whom are active social media users.
The Mumbai cyber police station has also registered a case against the app’s unidentified developers and Twitter handles which promoted it.
The Delhi Police had also filed an FIR after journalist Ismat Ara lodged a complaint stating that she was being targeted by some unidentified group of people on a mobile application named ‘Bulli Bai’ created on the GitHub platform. After the controversy, Github had removed the user from its hosting platform.
The case was registered against the unknown culprits under sections 153(A) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion etc), 153(B) (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 295(A) (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings), 354D (stalking), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 500 (criminal defamation) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of Information Technology Act.
Hyderabad cyber crime police have also registered a case in the ‘Bulli Bai’ app row on the complaint of activist Khalida Parveen, who is among the Muslim women “auctioned” on the app.