Bulli Bai App: Mumbai Police Arrest Vishal Jha, Detain Uttarakhand Woman

Mumbai Police arrested Vishal Jha from Bangalore and are questioning a woman from Uttarakhand who is said to be the main accused.

Mumbai Police on Tuesday arrested a 21-year-old engineering student, identified as Vishal Jha, in the Bulli Bai app case where photos of Muslim women active on Twitter were put up for an online auction. The police have also detained and are questioning a woman from Uttarakhand, who is said to be the main accused in the case.

The police are yet to reveal details about the identity of the woman.

Sources in the Mumbai Police confirmed that Jha was picked up from Bangalore on Monday night and taken to Mumbai where the Cyber Crime unit detained and questioned him for several hours before formally arresting him.

According to senior Mumbai police officials, Jha is studying civil engineering in a Bangalore based college and his father is said to be a government employee. Jha who has beem named a co-accused in the case, allegedly opened an account by the name Khalsa supremist and other accounts related to the Bulli Bai app. Source have further confirmed that on December 31, Jha allegedly changed the names of other accounts he was operating, to ones with Sikhism inspired handles to avoid suspicion. The police have further said that the arrested accused Jha and the woman being questioned, knew each other and were friends on social media networking sites like Facebook and Instagram. Sources say the woman was operating and handling three accounts related to the Bulli bai app.

The incident came to light on January 1, 2021 after several Muslim women found their photos and details on a Github app called, 'Bulli Bai'. The app listed details of hundreds including photos of Muslim women, most of them journalists and activists, who are vocal on social media about various issues.

Bulli Bai app is the second such instance where Muslim women have been targeted. In 2021, over 50 Muslim women had their photos, along with Twitter accounts, revealed without their consent through an auctioning app called 'Sulli Deals'. An investigation by Newslaundry had then revealed that the person behind the account 'Liberal Doge' is Ritesh Kumar Jha, a tech-savvy 23-year-old individual from Bihar. Jha runs a number of Telegram channels under the pseudonym LiberalDoge, where users shared Islamophobic content. BOOM had also reached out to Jha, who declined to comment and claimed to not know anything about Liberal Doge.

Also Read:'We Were Reduced To Meat': Muslim Women Narrate Harassment Before 'Sulli Deals' Auction

Also Read:Months After Sulli Deals, Bulli Bai App Puts Muslim Women On 'Auction'

At least three cases were filed and two FIRs registered after the Sulli Deal incident in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

The Bulli bai case is also being investigated by Delhi Police and the the Delhi Commission for Women issued a notice to the cyber crime wing of the Delhi police, demanding an arrest in the case.

Both, Sulli deals and the Bulli bai app were hosted on GitHub, an online repository for software developers and coders to store codes of their software. GitHub primarily used by developers, coders and software engineers lets anyone open a free account. With only an email id required to create a site, many can create an anonymous account. GitHub does not share location-tracking data such as IP address logs and private user content to law enforcement agencies without a valid search warrant.

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