Court rejects bail pleas of 3 Bulli Bai case accused

The lawyer said the bail has been refused on the ground that the accused could flee if released on bail

Mumbai: A metropolitan magistrate court in Mumbai on Thursday rejected the bail application filed by three accused arrested in connection with the Bulli Bai app case. The Cyber Crime Cell of Mumbai police on Thursday arrested one more person from Odisha in this case. Meanwhile, two accused who were arrested by Delhi police special cell were also brought to the city and were produced before the Bandra court, which remanded the duo to police custody till January 27.

Magistrate Komal Singh Rajput rejected the bail applications filed by Vishal Kumar Jha, Shweta Singh and Mayank Rawat. Jha’s lawyer Shivam Deshmukh said, “We are yet to receive the copy of the order and we will come to know about grounds on which bail has been rejected once we receive the order copy from the court.”

The lawyer also said that what they know so far is that the bail has been refused on the ground that the accused could flee if released on bail and they are experts in artificial intelligence and hence there is possibility of tampering with the evidence if released on bail.

While the police had arrested Jha from Bengaluru on January 4, Singh and Rawat were arrested on January 5 from Uttarakhand.

They had filed bail applications as soon as they were remanded to judicial custody. Jha was remanded to judicial custody (JC) after the police informed the court on January 10, that he was found Covid positive and had been shifted to quarantine centre. Though the police had sought his custody when he was discharged from the quarantine centre but court had turned down this plea.

Later, Rawat was also infected with Coronavirus and was remanded to JC along with Singh.

The police have alleged that all three were handling eight to ten twitter handles created to propagate the app. The accused were using ProtonMail, which provides a proxy IP address, to hide their identities and to conceal their internet footprints.

The cyber cell has also claimed that many of the accounts were deleted or suspended for posting defamatory content and information regarding the same is yet to be procured.

The Mumbai police on Thursday brought prime accused Niraj Bishnoi and Omkareshwar Thakur to Mumbai from Delhi on transit remand.

The police produced them before the Bandra court and sought their custody on the grounds that Bishnoi was creator of the app and Thakur coded the app and their custodial interrogation was needed to thoroughly investigate the case.

The Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of Delhi police had arrested Bishnoi from Assam. According to the police, he created the Bulli Bai app. The IFSO had also arrested Thakur for allegedly creating the Sulli Deals app around six months before the Bulli Bai app. Both the apps had put morphed photographs of more than a hundred prominent Muslim women on the app for “auction”.

The FIR was lodged in connection with Sulli Deals app, but there was no breakthrough in the case. However, again a complaint was registered after the Bulli Bai app came to light and after public fury the police took action in the case.

The fifth person arrested in this case has been identified as Neeraj Singh, who is an MBA degree holder. The police had claimed that he was involved in the planning of the app with the main accused. He is likely to be brought to Mumbai and produced before a court for remand soon.

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