Four arrested in Barkha Dutt cyber crime case

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TV Journalist Barkha Dutt
TV Journalist Barkha Dutt

New Delhi : The cyber crime cell of Delhi Police has arrested four men in connection to journalist Barkha Dutt case. Three men were held from Delhi and one from Surat in Gujarat. The renowned journalist filed an FIR after she faced trolling and harassment on social media and via text.

On February 21, 2019, Dutt had registered an FIR with the cyber cell stating that she was receiving threatening phone calls, messages, WhatsApp calls and obscene pictures from strangers.

“I appear to have been made a victim of some fake news propaganda and my number has been shared on all social media platforms. I have been sent nude pictures and sexually abusive text messages. I fear for my well-being, security and life as this is a coordinated assault by a violent mob,” she states in her FIR, adding that one message read “goli maar denge”.

Barkha Dutt case was registered under IPC sections 354-D (stalking), 506 (threatening), 507 (criminal intimidation) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy), and sections 67 and 67-A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act) of the IT Act.

A senior officer said: “A team was formed and police, using technical surveillance, arrested the men, identified as Rajiv Sharma (23), Hemraj Kumar (31) and Aditya Kumar (34) from Delhi and Shabbir Gurfan Pinjari (45), a resident of Surat.”

The cops investigated and found that Sharma is pursuing his graduation via correspondence from a private university, Hemraj is a chef in a private hotel, and Aditya works with a private firm as a sales executive. All three were arrested for sending objectionable text messages and have been granted bail. Pinjari, who works in a butcher shop, was booked for sending an obscene photograph and has been remanded in 14-day judicial custody.

During the police interrogation, the accused told police that they found Dutt’s number on social media, where someone had shared it claiming it was for “escort services”. “Pinjari allegedly sent obscene photos, while others sent abusive messages,” an officer said. Police are now trying to ascertain who shared the journalist’s number online.

The National Commission for Women has also asked Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik to initiate speedy investigation into the matter. Dutt had also tweeted to the Delhi Police, apprising them of the matter.

“I had close to 1,000 abusive messages and calls in a coordinated and violent mob attack. These included a message to shoot me, a nude photo, many sexually abusive messages. I outed the men who did this,” she had tweeted.