New Delhi: According to his family, 25-year-old Aumkareshwar Thakur — the alleged creator of the Sulli Deals app who was arrested by Delhi Police from his residence in Indore early Sunday — is “extremely religious”, a “smart kid who knows coding”, and an “introvert” who barely left the house except to walk his dog or buy something from the nearby general store.
He has done his undergraduate studies in computer application from Indore Professional Studies Academy (IPS), and works at an IT firm.
According to the Delhi Police, Aumkareshwar is the “mastermind” behind the now defunct Sulli Deals app that had displayed images of Muslim women without their consent for the purpose of ‘auctioning’ them. He has been arrested on the basis of an FIR lodged in connection with the app in July last year.
Speaking to ThePrint over phone, Aumkareshwar’s father Akhilesh Thakur said his son had been caught in a “conspiracy”.
“If my son made the app, there will be others who taught him all those things, asked him to do it. He had no friends that he spoke to on phone or met for us to stop him or get to know anything,” he added.
He also said that he had had no idea about the Sulli Deals app until recently: “Bas kuch dino se ‘Bulli Bai’ sun rahe he (We have only been hearing about ‘Bulli Bai’ since the last couple of days).”
Bulli Bai is an app similar to Sulli Deals, which had surfaced last month, sparking an uproar on social media. Last week, the Mumbai Police had arrested the alleged creator of this app, Niraj Bishnoi, as well. According to the police, Aumkareshwar — who had communicated with the Bulli Bai accused online, but never met him — was apprehended after Bishnoi identified him as a suspect, but couldn’t give without personal details.
“The one who has been arrested from Assam, Niraj, has named my son. This is all a conspiracy. He knows coding but we can’t come to terms that he would do something so disgusting,” said Aumkareshwar’s father.
‘Had reduced his online activity in last one year’
According to the police, the accused had coded/created the Sulli Deals app after joining a hardline ‘Trad’ Twitter group in January 2020 called ‘Tradmahasabha’.
Sources had told ThePrint that there were around 20 people in the group, of which both Niraj and Aumkareshwar were part, but none knew their personal details.
Police said that Aumkareshwar had used seven different Twitter handles — @gangescion, @Sigmatrad, @mithlabvll and @Sullideals101 among them — to amplify the app that put Muslim women on ‘sale’. All of these handles are now suspended.
The accused allegedly deleted all his online accounts, footprints after the Sulli Deals app triggered an uproar on social media last year. “Thakur’s laptop has been sent for forensic examination. He erased all the data,” said a police source.
Akhilesh told ThePrint that while “both his sons know coding”, Aumkareshwar had reduced his online activity in the last one year. “We didn’t see him too much on social media platforms. He doesn’t talk much anyway.”
‘He would stay home all day, never miss any rituals’
Akhilesh, who works as a sales manager in a pen company, said he wasn’t at home when his son was apprehended.
“My younger son called me up saying that Aumkareshwar has been taken away by two men in civil dress. I keep traveling for work. In the morning, when I spoke to him, he said that the police are taking him to Delhi via flight. His mother couldn’t understand what was happening,” he added.
“Before leaving with the police, my son told her, ‘Mummy maine kuch nahi kiya he, mujhe fasaya gaya he (Mother I haven’t done anything wrong. I have been framed)….We don’t know what to do or whom to seek help from. I will be returning to Delhi via bus this evening,” he further said.
Asked if Aumkareshwar had ever spoken to him about his religious views, Akhilesh said: “He never discussed all these things at home for us to correct him.”
However, he said that his son would never miss any puja rituals at home, or a chance to visit the local temple.
“He never had any friends, so we don’t know how he got involved in all this, if he did create this app at all. He loves his mother very much. Throughout the day, he would be busy with her, talking, watching movies. Other times, he would be busy with our dog, cleaning him, taking him for walks. Everyone in the colony knows ki wo ghar nikalta hee nahi hai (everyone in the colony knows that he never leaves the house),” he claimed.
“We live in a residential area. Anyone here can vouch for my son. Ninety per cent of the people will say he has never misbehaved,” said Akhilesh.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)