Congress strategist remains elusive, Hyderabad police serves notice


by IANS | Thu, Dec 15, 2022, 12:17 PM

Hyderabad, Dec 15 (IANS) Hyderabad police have issued a notice to elusive Congress party poll strategist Sunil Kanugolu for allegedly making remarks against Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, his daughter K. Kavitha and others.

Cyber crime police issued the notice under section 41A of Criminal Procedure Code, directing Sunil to appear before it in connection with the case registered against him.

This came a day after the police conducted a raid on the Congress party war room in Madhapur area in the city and took three persons into custody.

The police action evoked strong reaction from the opposition party, which termed it "raid on democracy". The party organised state-wide protests against the raid on Wednesday.

Police, which seized laptops, CPUs and mobile phones during the raid, reportedly found several morphed videos. The accused were making derogatory posts on social media in the names of 'Telangana galam' and 'Apanna Hastam'.

Meanwhile, the opposition party has also moved a petition in Telangana High Court against the police action. Congress leader Mallu Ravi filed a habeas corpus petition seeking production of three persons arrested from war room. He alleged that three men were in illegal detention.

Three persons were taken into custody and were issued notices under 141 CrPC, a police official had said.

On the basis of confessions of the three persons taken into custody during the raid on Tuesday night, Cyber crime police made Sunil the prime accused.

Additional Commissioner of Police Vikram Singh Mann had told reporters that the police acted in accordance with the law.

The police were not aware that it was the social media office of the Congress party. He said there was no office name or board at the premises, he claimed.

The officer said the accused were secretly operating from Mind Share United Foundation building in Madhapur and they were traced using the cyber crime tools as part of the investigation in the complaints about derogatory posts.

The accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) and 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes).

Five cases were registered against the accused at Cyber Crime Police Station and four other police stations in the city.

"Criticism in democracy is an accepted system. Political criticism is healthy but these kind of posts personally targeting leaders with no regard for women is not criticism. This is outright abuse. If somebody wants to criticise, they should be bold to reveal their identity," he said.

Mann Singh said the abusive posts were not targeting just one party. "They were not revealing their identity. They were using false names or very generic names. Since social media companies are located abroad, it was very difficult to trace them. Using cybercrime tools, we traced them. This is the first step. If there are complaints, we will book more cases," he said.

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