New Delhi: The creator and main conspirator behind the ‘Bulli Bai’ app, which targeted Muslim women by putting up doctored photographs of them without their consent, has been arrested from Jorhat, Assam, by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) unit of the Delhi Police Special Cell, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) K.P.S. Malhotra said Thursday. “He has confessed to having created the app,” said Malhotra.
Malhotra said the accused, 20-year-old Niraj Bishnoi — who is now in police remand in Delhi — had also created the ‘@Bulli Bai_’ Twitter handle. “After creating the content in the app, he made the Twitter handle and forwarded it to others in the network — social media propagators. He is the mastermind creator of the Bulli Bai case,” said the DCP, adding that the case had been cracked with Bishnoi’s arrest.
The police said Bishnoi had made more Twitter accounts, including @Sage0x1 and @giyu44. “He was continuously monitoring the news on social media. He had created one more Twitter account with the name of @giyu44 and had tweeted, ‘You have arrested the wrong person, slumbai police,'” said Malhotra.
You have arrested the wrong person, slumbai police
I am the creator of #BulliBaiApp
— . (@giyu44) January 5, 2022
Another tweet refers to an account with a “Sikh” display picture. The Mumbai Police has said that the accused tried to mislead people by projecting themselves as members of the Sikh community.
Lmao only one guy was ever involved and that's me
You pajeets arrested a follower of that acc with sikh dp, who had nothing to do with the app and didn't tweet anything wrong
Do you have even the slightest bit of shame slumbai pulis? https://t.co/EklMp4jaB4
— . (@giyu44) January 5, 2022
“During interrogation, he disclosed that he is the person who created the Bulli Bai app on GitHub. He had also created the twitter handle @Bulli Bai_ and other handles. He further disclosed that the GitHub app was developed in November 2021 and finally updated in December 2021. The Twitter account was created on 31 December,” the officer said.
“The Twitter accounts were suspended by Twitter and the app was also removed from GitHub platform. Raw data analysis along with the technical details was undertaken and the suspect was identified to be based in Jorhat, Assam,” said Malhotra.
Police have seized his mobile phone and laptop — forensic examination will be conducted on both — and collected evidence. They have found details of the Bulli Bai profiles created on the laptop.
On Saturday, morphed images of hundreds of women were found listed on the ‘Bulli Bai’ app, hosted by software development platform GitHub. These photographs, posted without consent, included several female journalists and activists, among others. Last year, a similar website, ‘Sulli Deals’, had put up similar photographs of Muslim women and ‘auctioned’ them.
‘Tech expert from middle-class family’, ‘
Bishnoi is a resident of Jorhat and is pursuing his second year of B.Tech in computer science from Vellore Institute of Technology, Bhopal. According to sources, he is a tech expert and is from a middle-class family. His father is a businessman and he has two sisters at home.
A source said that Bishnoi had been in Rajasthan and then in Delhi before coming home to Jorhat on 25 December.
A police source said the other three people arrested in the case — Shweta Singh, Vishal Kumar Jha, and Mayank Rawat — “were just following Bishnoi’s instructions. He had managed everything and was guiding them. Shweta, Rawat and Jha were just followers”.
“The three others arrested didn’t give out his name. Bishnoi has been arrested after massive technical surveillance; the IP address used to develop the app was tracked to him,” added the source.
Four arrested, further probe on
Bishnoi’s arrest is the fourth so far in the case. The first arrest was of 21-year-old Vishal Kumar Jha, who is from Bihar and is pursuing an engineering degree in Bengaluru. He was picked up from class, detained and formally arrested after hours of interrogation Tuesday.
Eighteen-year-old Shweta Singh, who had passed her class 12 exams, was arrested from Uttarakhand by the Mumbai Police Tuesday for her alleged involvement in the case.
Twenty-year-old Delhi University student Mayank Rawat was also arrested Tuesday night from his house in Kotdwar, Uttarakhand. Rawat is a third-year BA student at Zakir Husain College.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior police officer said, “All the accused are known to one another. Further probe is on.”
The Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) had earlier issued a summons to the cyber cell of the Delhi Police in the case, and asked for the immediate arrest of the accused.
Based on a complaint filed in the case, the Delhi Police had registered an FIR in the matter. The Mumbai Police had also registered a case against unidentified persons following complaints about the doctored photographs being put up for ‘sale’ on the ‘Bulli Bai’ app.
(Edited by Rohan Manoj)