Tamil Nadu

Madras HC denies advance bail to WhatsApp group admin

The Madras High Court has denied anticipatory bail to a WhatsApp group administrator and a member of that group for posting a photograph of Industries Minister M.C. Sampath along with a message that he is missing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justice T. Ravindran dismissed the plea of K. Arumugam and R. Balaji of Melkumaramangalam near Panruti in Cuddalore district after concurring with Additional Public Prosecutor T. Shunmugarajeswaran that they must be subjected to custodial interrogation.

According to the prosecution, they had booked the petitioners under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code as well as the Information Technology Act of 2000 on the basis of a complaint lodged by an All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) cadre P. Rajini on April 2.

The complainant had said that Arumugam, a local resident, was the admin of a WhatsApp group titled Melkumaramangalam and Balaji, the husband of the panchayat union president B. Mahalakshmi, was a member in that group.

Accusing Balaji of being in the habit of spreading canards against the Minister, the complainant said that on April 2 a false message was circulated in the WhatsApp group as if the Minister was missing in action in the fight against COVID-19.

Further, claiming that the Minister had been actively supervising distribution of relief material and other official work in the district, the complainant had urged the police to take action against the duo for spreading a false message.

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The article has been corrected for a factual error. Earlier,  it was wrongly mentioned as Justice G.K. Ilanthiraiyan instead of Justice T. Ravindran. The error is regretted.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 1:34:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-denies-advance-bail-to-whatsapp-group-admin/article31545957.ece

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