3 Arrested In Bulli Bai Case, More Could Be Involved: Mumbai Police Chief

Mumbai: Three people have been arrested so far in connection with the ‘Bulli Bai’ app which targeted Muslim women by putting up their images online for `auction’, Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said on Wednesday. Some more people were likely to be involved in the matter, he told reporters.

Police were also probing why some of the Twitter handles which promoted the app used Sikh-sounding names, he said.

The Mumbai top cop also expressed displeasure about comments made by officials in other states about the case.

Mayank Rawal (21) was caught from Uttarakhand in the early hours of Wednesday in the case, police had said earlier. Shweta Singh (19) was arrested on Tuesday from the same state, while engineering student Vishal Kumar Jha (21) was held from Bengaluru on Monday.

“The probe is on and anyone involved in the crime directly or indirectly will be arrested and prosecuted. As the investigation is of sensitive nature, we will not be able to share more details,” Mr Nagrale said.

The cyber cell of Mumbai Police will go to the root of the matter, he assured.

The accused created a web-based app called ‘Bulli Bai’ and posted photos of women from a particular community along with messages that could hurt their sentiments, the police commissioner said.

When asked if Sikh names were used by social media handles which promoted the app, Mr Nagrale said it seemed that such attempt was made.

Some of these handles had names such as ‘Khalsa Supremacist’, ‘Jatinder Singh Bhullar’, ‘Harpal’, ‘Sage’, he said.

“As per the status of the handle (linked to the app), it says Bulli Bai is a community driven open source app by Khalsa Sikh force. So why this is there, that is part of our investigation,” the commissioner said.

“It is too early to say exactly what was the aim of the entire exercise,” he added.

Mumbai Police registered a First Information Report after receiving a complaint about the app on January 2, following which investigators started technical analysis of the app and the related twitter handle, Mr Nagrale said.

This Twitter handle, bearing the same name as the app, had been created to promote the app’s website on social media, the senior police official said.

“During the technical analysis, we collected information about the followers of the app and launched a hunt for the accused,” he said.

Bengaluru-based Vishal Kumar Jha, a second-year engineering student, was one of the five followers of the handle, Mr Nagrale claimed.

If any person wants to share information about the case, he or she can contact Mumbai cyber police, he said.

Mr Nagrale expressed displeasure about comments made by some “local authorities” outside Maharashtra about the case.

“Some local authorities have given some versions, which I feel, was not required. They were not aware of the details of the case. Generally, we don’t speak about cases in other states,” he said.

“If you don’t have proper information, then you should not issue a statement on it,” Mr Nagrale added.

Asked about other similar complaints, he said, “If any complaint comes to us, it may be from any community, we will take immediate cognizance of it.”

The Mumbai police commissioner refused to comment when asked if the accused in the case were also involved in the ‘Sulli Deals’ case (where a similar website targeting Muslim women had been created).

“I will keep the discussion (limited) only about the case registered with Mumbai Police, and the case mentioned is being investigated by Delhi Police. The investigation is three-day-old and I can not say whether both the cases are connected,” the commissioner added.

The police will find out who was the mastermind, what was the motive and whether the arrested accused got paid and who paid them, Mr Nagrale said.The app was hosted on the open-source software platform GitHub. It was later blocked by the platform upon receiving complaints.

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.

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