On a counter-complaint by K.V. Jaganathrao and his AI colleague held in May after a plaint by Karnik

The cyber police station at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) on Friday registered a first information report (FIR) under Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act against Sagar Karnik of the Air India Cabin Crew Association (AICCA). This was done on a counter complaint on July 3 by K.V. Jaganathrao, who, along with his Air India colleague, was arrested in May after a complaint filed by Mr. Karnik for posting provocative messages on social networking websites.

While Mr. Jaganathrao and Mayank Sharma were arrested on Mr. Karnik’s complaint in May and jailed for 12 days, no action was taken after the counter-complaint was filed in July with the cyber police station against Mr. Karnik. The FIR filed on Friday Mr. Karnik had posted derogatory comments on Facebook and Orkut, which were defamatory and insulting to the complainant.

Intra-union rivalry

Mr. Jaganatharao’s statement recorded at the cyber police station in connection with his complaint refers to intra-union rivalry between Kiran Pawaskar, former Shiv Sainik and present Nationalist Congress Party MLC, who wanted to control the AICCA, and himself and Mr. Sharma. The statement says that after differences over the elections to the AICCA, from March 2011 to June 2012, Mr. Karnik abused Mr. Jaganathrao many times on Facebook.

On November 1, 2011, Mr. Karnik said he had a gun and also said he would get Mr. Jaganathrao arrested by the cyber police station. There were other abusive words and comments on Facebook as well as an open threat to kill him, Mr. Jaganathrao said. However, Mr. Karnik, after issuing this threat, went and complained to the cyber police station in Bandra that he was being threatened by Mr. Jaganathrao, leading to the two arrests.

Mr. Jaganathrao told The Hindu that after they were released on bail, he submitted a complaint along with a dossier of web links to social networking sites, which show the abuse by Mr. Karnik, to the cyber police station in July. “The police took four months to register an FIR against Karnik, which means they have not investigated the matter properly and if there is an FIR against Karnik, why were we arrested in the first place,” he asked.

‘Lascivious and defamatory’

The first complaint against them was made by Mr. Pawaskar on July 1, 2011 to senior police officer Vishwas Nangre Patil. Later, Mr. Karnik filed an FIR on March 29, 2012 accusing Mr. Jaganathrao and Mr. Sharma of uploading lascivious and defamatory content on Facebook and Orkut against him and politicians and also threatening him with death, apart from insulting the national flag. They were charged under Section 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 66 A and 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act, apart from Section Two of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jaganathrao and Mr. Sharma had met Niket Kaushik, Additional Police Commissioner, in October to raise the issue of their arrest by the cyber police station. Mr. Jaganathrao and Mr. Sharma wrote to him demanding to know if any action was initiated against the police officers who allegedly did not seek the approval of their superiors to make an arrest under Section 66 A of the IT Act.

Mr. Kaushik did not respond to calls.