The Delhi Police on Saturday arrested 25-year-old web designer Aumkareshwar Thakur from Madhya Pradesh’s Indore for being the alleged developer of the abusive “Sulli Deals” app . The arrest comes over five months since the abusive app held an ‘auction’ of Muslim women online, using and morphing photographs without permission, and FIRs were lodged in Delhi and Noida.
Police said Thakur, who has a BCA degree, created the application aimed at “defaming and trolling Muslim women”.
Police said that during his preliminary interrogation, Thakur admitted that he was the member of a trad-group (Tradmahasabha) on Twitter and an idea was shared on it to “defame and troll Muslim ladies”.
“He had developed the code for the application on GitHub and the access for the same was with all the members of the group,” DCP (Special Cell Cyber Unit) K.P.S. Malhotra said.
The officer further said Thakur had shared the application on his Twitter account and the photos of Muslim women were uploaded by the members of the group.
“He had joined a group on Twitter by the name of Tradmahasabha in January 2020 using the Twitter handle @gangescion. During various group discussions, the members had discussed about trolling Muslim women,” Mr. Malhotra said.
After the social media uproar over the “Sulli Deals” application, “he had deleted all his social media footprints”. Officials said that further interrogation is underway while technical gadgets, including the accused’s laptop and phone, are being analysed to recover the codes and images related to the application.
The arrest comes days after 20-year-old Niraj Bishnoi was arrested from Assam’s Jorhat for being the “mastermind” behind recent “Bulli Bai” application which also “auctioned” several Muslim women online. He is currently in seven-day police remand.
During Bishnoi’s interrogation, police claimed to have revealed that he used to interact with various virtual identities on social media and engage in several group discussions.
Police said that in July last year Bishnoi and Thakur came in contact when a member of group that the former belonged to shared the details of the “Sulli Deals” application. “That was the first time Niraj Bishnoi or other group members had heard about the application on GitHub,” police alleged.
The Twitter handle was traced back and police found that the account and other online footprints had been erased from various social media platforms. Bishnoi allegedly confessed that the Twitter handle belonged to a person based in Indore.
“Based on backtrack analysis and archive data, one Twitter handle in the name of Aumkar Thakur was identified…,” the DCP said. Police added that Thakur has allegedly confessed to creating the “Sulli Deals” application.
“The necessary digital footprints in his laptop and on the cyber space are being probed,” the officer added.
Speaking to The Hindu from Indore, Thakur’s father, Akhilesh Thakur, however, said his son was being “framed” in the case and had nothing to do with the co-accused arrested so far. “You can ask anyone in our locality, he was an introvert and didn’t have a lot of friends and mostly kept to himself,” he said.
“Some police officials came to my house while I was out on a work-related tour…my son told me over phone that he is being taken to Delhi for interrogation. I only asked him if he had done anything wrong and he said he didn’t… I believe him,” Mr. Thakur added. “He was an IT expert and was a successful web designer, he cannot be involved in developing such an application.”