Nearly 30 Twitter handles were used to execute “Sulli Deals.” Police investigating the case are putting together the pan-India network and its operators. Morphed pictures of Muslim women were uploaded for their purported “auction” from the various handles, confirmed Delhi police on Monday.
Indore-resident 26-year-old Aumkareshwar Thakur, who did his BCA from IPS Academy in Indore was taken into custody on Saturday, days after arrests were made in connection with the similar, Bulli Bai app. This is the first arrest made in the Sulli Deals app case registered in July, the police said, adding Thakur was on Sunday remanded in police custody for four days by the court.
On the other hand, Jorhat denizen Niraj Bishnoi emerged kingpins of the Bulli Bai app. Delhi Police further added that both Thakur and Bishnoi’s laptop and phones have been sent to the National Forensic Science Lab to ascertain their contents and access details. Thakur, sensing the police trail, had deleted most files from the hard drive.
Accused Thakur revealed that he ran his own web-designing firm with clients even from the US. When his father was questioned, he told investigators that they were not aware of Thakur’s work as he slept throughout the day and worked during the night, a senior police officer said. He said when questioned by his parents about his habit of keeping awake throughout the nights, he told them that because of the time difference between India and US, he had to work mostly throughout the night, so they never doubted Thakur, the officer said.
Even though both Thakur and Bishnoi do not seem to regret their activities, Thakur lamented that his family had to face problems due to him, they said. When they felt that they cannot do anything to stop the “downfall of Hinduism,” they created various anonymous handles on Twitter and used Virtual Private Number (VPN) to use the internet to conceal their identities, police said. Officials suspect that at least three to five people were misusing these multiple Twitter handles to put up these morphed and objectionable photos and further exchange comments through the alleged “Sulli Deals” app.
Hundreds of Muslim women were listed for auction on the mobile application with photographs sourced without permission and doctored. Deputy Commissioner of Police (IFSO) KPS Malhotra had said during preliminary interrogation, the accused admitted that he was a member of a group on Twitter where the idea to defame and troll Muslim women was shared.
“He had developed the code on GitHub. The access of GitHub was with all the members of the group. He had shared the app on his Twitter account. The photos of the Muslim women were uploaded by the group members,” the officer had said.
The investigation has revealed that the accused had joined the group on Twitter by the name of “Tradmahasabha” in January 2020 using the handle @gangescion. During various group discussions, the members had talked about trolling Muslim women, the police had said.