Court rejects bail plea of ‘Sulli Deals’ app creator

Derogatory mobile app had surfaced in July last year where photos of Muslim women were displayed without their consent

New Delhi: A Delhi court on Sunday refused to grant bail to Aumkareshwar Thakur, the creator of the derogatory “Sulli Deals” app, saying that the investigation is at a very nascent stage and permitting bail at this juncture will “prejudice a fair investigation”.

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Thakur, 25, a resident of Newyork City Township, Indore was apprehended by the Delhi Police on January 8.

In its ruling, the court said: “The accused had consciously used Top Browser so that his identity could not be disclosed and various complaints have been received against Sulli Deals App which are pending across India.”

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It further said that the investigation, presently, is a developing investigation and the accused has been arrested after great and time-consuming efforts after following the MLAT process.

As counsel appearing for Thakur argued that the bail cannot be denied merely on the sentiments of the community and “accused has been put to media trial”, the court maintained that at this stage, it “cannot ignore the peculiar facts of the case which reflect upon the severity and the gravity of the alleged acts of the accused”.

“Further the misuse of the technology and the impact of the alleged acts on the larger section of society cannot be reduced to negligible when being compared to other offences with harsher punishments,” it said.

The derogatory mobile app had surfaced in July last year where photos of Muslim women were displayed without their consent for “auction”.

The Delhi Police’s Cyber Crime Unit had registered an FIR under section 354-A (Sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code on July 8.

Apart from “Sulli Deals”, another shocking incident of harassment and insulting women of the minority community on social media came to light on January 1 after a Delhi-based woman journalist lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police stating that she was being targeted by some unidentified group of people on a mobile application, this time named “Bulli Bai”, yet again created on GitHub platform.

“Bulli Bai” had a number of pictures of women, including journalists, social workers, students and famous personalities, accompanied by derogatory content. The app listed hundreds of Muslim women for “auction”.

However, its creator, Niraj Bishnoi, was also arrested by the Delhi Police on January 6.

During his interrogation, it emerged that he used to interact with various virtual identities on social media and used to engage in group discussions.

In July 2021, in one of the groups in which Bishnoi was a member, another group member shared the details of the “Sulli Deals”. That was the first time Bishnoi or other group members had heard about the Sullideals app on GitHub. The said Twitter handle was backtracked and it was learnt that after the uproar, the Twitter handle and other foot prints were erased from various social media platforms.

Bishnoi disclosed details that the said Twitter handle belonged to a person who stays in Indore. Based on technical analysis, a Twitter handle in the name of accused Thakur was identified and on January 8, a team of IFSO, Special Cell went to Indore.

Thakur was examined and his technical gadgets were subjected to preliminary analysis. During investigation he was subjected to interrogation, in which he confessed that he had created the Sulli Deal app on GitHub. The access of GitHub was with all the members of the group. He had shared the app on his Twitter account where the photos of the Muslim women were uploaded by the group members.

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