Three sleepless nights and a quick move to rush to Uttarakhand and Bengaluru helped Mumbai cyber police in cracking the sensitive the ‘Bulli Bai’ app case fast, despite having limited information about suspects, an official said on Wednesday.
There was an outrage after photographs of Muslim women were posted on the app for ‘auction’.
While there was no actual ‘auction’ or ‘sale’, the purpose of the app seemed to be to humiliate and intimidate the targeted women, many of whom are active social media users.
Women victims had demanded the arrest of those behind such an act and Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi had also made a complaint to Mumbai Police’s cyber wing, he said.
A team led by Mumbai cyber unit’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Rashmi Karandikar started a probe into the case and formed teams comprising personnel from the east, central and west region cyber police stations here to nab the culprits, the official said.
“It was very important to detect the crime and protect the country’s unity,” he said.
With technical help, the police obtained the IP addresses through which the photos of women were uploaded on the app and also got some information about the locations of the culprits.
Accordingly, one police team left for Bengaluru in neighbouring Karnataka, while another team went to Uttarakhand via Delhi by flight on Monday, said the official, who was involved in the operation.
The police took all precautions in the wake of the COVID-19 situation and the severe cold weather in Uttarakhand, he said.
The team that went to Bengaluru managed to arrest engineering student Vishal Jha (21) easily and brought him to Mumbai, the official said.
On the other hand, the team which left for Uttarakhand travelled for six hours in a private vehicle from Delhi to reach the northern state, and then immediately started a search for suspects, he said.
Amid the freezing cold weather there and having limited information related to locations of the accused, the police faced problems in tracing the culprits in some densely populated areas, he said.
While zeroing-in on one of the suspects, the police found the person was a woman, identified as Swati Singh (19).
The probe team took the help of a woman police officer to apprehend her. Following her questioning, Singh was found to be the main culprit in the case, he said.
The police also found that she had sold her house and was staying in a rented flat, he said, adding that during the probe, the police did not have a photograph of her for identification.
After arresting her, the Mumbai Police produced her before a court in Uttarakhand and got her transit remand for five days, he said.
While the team was conducting the investigation into the case in Uttarakhand, Mumbai Commissioner of Police Hemant Nagrale, Joint CP (Crime) Milind Bharambe and DCP Karandikar were following up the operation back here, he said.
During a call to the probe team members, a senior police official in Mumbai informed them that another suspect involved in the conspiracy behind the case was located at Kotdwar in Uttarakhand.
The probe team in Uttarakand then launched a hunt for the person.
The police team left at night in a private vehicle for Kotdwar, which was about 200 km from their location, and had little time to have food during the journey, the official said.
Acting swiftly, the team nabbed the person, Mayank Rawal (21), in the early hours of Wednesday, it said.
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