New Delhi: Niraj Bishnoi, the 20-year-old suspected mastermind and creator of the ‘Bulli Bai’ app, was also allegedly involved in Sulli Deals — a website that also uploaded images of Muslim women without their consent for the purpose of ‘auctioning’ them, ThePrint has learnt.
He is also allegedly one of the promoters who propagated the website’s content on Twitter, for which he is believed to have created multiple handles.
Delhi Police, looking into FIRs regarding both the portals, are now probing if he is the creator of the Sulli Deals website as well. Bishnoi had allegedly tried to push the narrative that the app was created by a Muslim man, ‘Javed Alam’.
“His phone and laptop are in forensic examination. He is definitely a part of the Sulli Deals case, but whether or not he is the creator will be ascertained after we get the full report,” a source in Delhi Police told ThePrint. During interrogation, the source added, Bishnoi confessed to being a part of Sulli Deals.
“The Sulli Deals case will be clearer after forensic reports of Bishnoi’s laptop and mobile phones come,” the source said.
Other sources in Delhi Police told ThePrint that the 2nd-year computer science engineering student who was arrested from his house in Jorhat, Assam, Thursday, by a team led by ACP Raman Lamba, is a “habitual” creator of fake Twitter handles to propagate hate.
Police claim that Bishnoi is the creator and mastermind of the Bulli Bai website that put up for “auction” dozens of Muslim women Saturday.
Abused, ‘sold’ Hasiba Amin on Twitter
Sources in Delhi Police said Bishnoi was also the one who passed objectionable comments about Congress social media national coordinator Hasiba Amin, before putting her photo up on ‘Sulli Deals’ last year.
“Bishnoi created the Twitter handle @giyu2002 and passed lewd remarks on the complainant (Amin). Investigation has revealed that he created multiple other Twitter accounts for such purposes — @giyu2002, @giyu007, @giyuu84, @giyu94,” DCP IFSO KPS Malhotra told ThePrint. Giyu (for Giyu Tomioka) is a gaming character in the online game ‘Demon Slayer: The Hinokami Chronicles’.
The Twitter handle is mentioned in the FIR lodged on the basis of Amin’s complaint in Southwest Delhi on 16 May 2021, a copy of which is with ThePrint.
Three days earlier, on 13 May, a YouTube Live by a channel, ‘Liberal Doge’, had shared pictures of Pakistani women in an abusive and sexualised video as an “Eid Special”. It invited viewers to “stalk the women with our eyes filled with lust”. Soon after, the virtual bidding started on Twitter, with accounts such as ‘@giyu2002’, ‘@Pinakishiv3’, and ‘@sullideals101’ being tagged for amplification of the content.
According to Delhi Police sources, Bishnoi trolled Amin by resharing a tweet from her, saying, “I invoke the legendary @sullideals101 to auction this sulli. Minimum bid: $1USD….” After a while, he again tweeted, “Bid: 77 paise INR (lower than minimum bid but nevermind). So @HasibaAmin is now sold to @Pinakishiv3…Enjoy brother.”
While the accounts @liberaldogereal, @Pinakishiv3 and @sullideals101 were taken down, @giyu2002 allegedly changed its profile name to ‘Mahummad Alam’ and used a Muslim man’s image.
‘Bishnoi promoted Sulli Deals content’
Around the time Bishnoi allegedly targeted Amin, Sulli Deals had been active, according to its upload data.
On 4 July 2021, around 90 Muslim women, including journalists, activists and researchers, were put up for “sale” on it, along with their photographs and Twitter handles. Delhi Police had lodged a separate FIR in the case then, but no arrests were made.
Delhi Police sources had told ThePrint earlier that GitHub — the US-based software development platform that hosted the website — had refused to provide details on who developed Sulli Deals, asking the police to take the legal procedure and approach them under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), a law enforcement agreement between countries on gathering and exchanging information.
Bishnoi, sources added, had “created the handle @giyu007 which amplified the Sulli Deal content on Twitter and put up the women on auction”. This particular Twitter handle had allegedly cropped up during the course of the probe in the Sulli Deals case.
Asked how long the 20-year-old has been engaged in these activities, the first Delhi Police source quoted above said, “He started doing it in May last year. We are investigating his other social media activity.”
‘Tried to show he was from Nepal’
In the Bulli Bai case, Bishnoi had allegedly instructed the other three arrested accused — Vishal Kumar Jha, Mayank Rawat and Shweta Singh — to share the app’s content on social media.
The three accused, according to police, used Sikh names as their Twitter handles, with an intention to create a rift between Sikhs and Muslims.
Singh, according to Mumbai Police, who arrested all three, was in touch with a “Nepal-origin man who had promised her that he would ensure that her Twitter account would remain untraced even if she was trolled for her comments”.
Sources in Delhi Police said the Twitter account @giyu44 was created by Bishnoi on 3 January 2022 with the agenda to “demean the arrests made by Mumbai Police” and challenge the investigating agencies.
“He also had tried to show his identity from Nepal and subsequently, as proof, posted notices and communications received from GitHub regarding the Bulli Bai app investigation on an online news portal,” the DCP said.
You have arrested the wrong person, slumbai police
I am the creator of #BulliBaiApp
— . (@giyu44) January 5, 2022
muh trace ip address, muh report from github
if they had traced ip address then they would have known that someone else (i.e me )was operating their acc
— . (@giyu44) January 5, 2022
The @giyu44 account is still functional on Twitter. A glimpse at it reveals Islamophobic, sexist and misogynist takes.
‘Tried to plant Sulli Deals misinformation’
According to the Delhi Police source, Bishnoi, described as a ‘tech expert’, had tried to plant “misinformation” after the Sulli Deals case was registered last year.
“Through this handle @giyu007 Bishnoi tried to plant misinformation regarding the possible propagator/originator of Sulli Deals app. He also created a fake profile of a girl and tried to communicate to the investigating agency as a news reporter. Further, he came in contact with various news reporters and tried to plant his misinformation with his nefarious goals,” the first source said.
The “misinformation” the source referred to is that Sulli Deals was created by a Muslim man, Javed Alam, and Bishnoi shared that with the hashtag #ArrestJavedAlam on the Twitter handle @giyu007.
Another account, now suspended — ‘sullidealsXpose’ — had shared details on how Alam had two accounts, @AnonMark3 and @AnonHindu4, and said that the former was used to post derogatory sexual content about Hindu women and the latter about Muslim women.
The account allegedly claimed that it had received information from a Muslim woman, and shared the screen recording of a purported conversation between the woman and Javed, on Telegram, where he allegedly posed as a Hindu man and confessed to having created Sulli Deals.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)