Bulli Bai case: Mumbai court refuses bail to all three accused

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A Mumbai court on Thursday rejected the bail applications of Vishal Kumar Jha, Shweta Singh, and Mayank Rawat – all three of who were accused in the controversial ‘Bulli Bai’ case and arrested by the Mumbai Police in connection with the matter.

Earlier this week, the cyber cell of the Mumbai Police had opposed the bail pleas of the three, stating that the investigation suggested the accused were also involved in the ‘Sulli Deals’ app case.

The Bulli Bai app, which triggered an uproar across social media earlier this month for putting up photos of Muslim women online for a mock ‘auction’, is hosted on the code-sharing platform GitHub and is currently being investigated by the Mumbai Police. The app itself was named after derogatory references to the Muslim community and came one year after a similar fiasco involving another targeted harassment app, Sulli Deals, hit the headlines.

Hundreds of Muslim women, including vocal activists and top professionals, were listed for “auction” and had their photographs doctored and sourced without permission. 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.

The police investigating the case, have linked the creators of the contentious app to alt-right groups. They made four arrests in the matter – Vishal Kumar Jha (in Bengaluru), Shweta Singh (in Uttarakhand), Mayank Rawal (in Uttarakhand), and Niraj Bishnoi (in Assam’s Jorhat), all of them being college students who allegedly came together to create the app.

A fifth person was also arrested from Odisha on Thursday, reports said. Identified as Neeraj Singh, the latest person to be accused in the case is said to be an MBA degree holder and was involved in the planning of the app with the main culprits.

Meanwhile, Niraj Bishnoi, the alleged mastermind of the Bulli Bai app, and his co-accused in the case Aumkareshwar Thakur, the alleged creator of the Sulli Deals app, have both been brought to Mumbai by the city’s cyber police and were produced before the Bandra magistrate court, which remanded the two in police custody up to January 27.

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