Spliced in-car video went viral; showed co-driver shouting at driver during rally

An executive with a motor sports company landed in jail on Saturday, for posting a spliced video of two men in a car who had participated in the FMSCI Indian Rally Championship 2013, held recently.

The video, posted on YouTube, went viral, and the executive was arrested after one of the men in it filed a police complaint.

According to officers with the cyber crime team, Yohann Setna (42) of Mumbai, is a manager at Coimbatore-based J.A. Motorsport, a racing and rally team. He recently downloaded a 40-minute in-car video that featured rally driver Samir Thapar and co-driver Vivek Ponnusamy who had participated in the championship held in Coimbatore in July. This video had been posted on YouTube by Thapar soon after the race.

“Setna watched the video and then edited it into a three-and-a-half-minute clip, showing just those parts in which the co-driver, Ponnusamy, was shouting at Thapar in the process of directing and navigating for him. Setna had found this hilarious and posted this edited clip on August 8,” said an officer.

The video went viral, especially among rally racing enthusiasts around the globe, and was shared by several people on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It received over 11 lakh hits on YouTube and over 5 lakh comments.

“The video was manipulated and projected us in a demeaning manner. It generated nasty comments including racial abuse, which completely tarnished my reputation and credibility as a co-driver in the racing circuit. My contract to participate in an Australian rally in November and a few other rallies were annulled by organisers following the video,” said Vivek Ponnusamy, who is the Asia Pacific Rally Champion co-driver for 2012. He claimed that Setna was not even an acquaintance and so his action could not be considered a prank.

Ponnusamy lodged a complaint with police commissioner S. George, and a probe was initiated by the cyber crime team of the central crime branch. Yohann Setna, who had come to Chennai for a racing event was arrested by the police on Saturday. His laptop and ipad, used to resize and post the video, were seized. He was remanded to custody and sent to prison.

City police have warned net users against posting spliced videos that could affect other individuals adversely.

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