Complaint was registered by a third person, not victim.
Mumbai: Two days after the cyber police registered a defamation case against the Tanmay Bhat, co-founder of comedy group All India Bakchod for allegedly insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi by tweeting a meme, the police says that there is nothing more that it can do and an investigation is underway. The police has not yet called in any AIB member for questioning and officials say AIB may have used a lookalike of the Prime Minister in the offensive tweet. The officials also said they do not have the version of the purported victim, Mr Modi.
The cyber police had booked Bhat under section 500 (defamation) of the Indian Penal Code and section 67 of the IT Act (Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form).
The meme in question, used a Snapchat dog filter superimposed on the PM’s face. Posted with the hashtag ‘wanderlust’, it was apparently trying to take a dig at the PM for his foreign visits.
A Twitter user, Reetesh Maheshwari, complained about the meme on the police’s Twitter handle. The police forwarded Mr Maheshwari’s tweet to the cyber police station, which registered an FIR.
Police sources told this newspaper that in case of the image tweeted by Bhat, the police can at the most register a case of defamation and publishing obscene material in electronic form, but since the case was registered by a third party, it cannot be considered a strong complaint. The sources said the police would be able to take stronger action only after they get the version from the purported victim, Mr Modi.
Mumbai police spokes-person deputy commissioner of police (Opera-tions) Rashmi Karandikar said, “The cyber police has registered a complaint and the probe is on. But since the complaint is made by a third party, and not the victim himself, it can be a very slow process, as we do not have the victim’s side of the story. The probe is on, and so far we have no plans of calling Bhat or any other members of AIB for questioning.”
The punishment for crime under section 500 of the IPC and 67 of the IT Act is a fine of `five lakh and up to three years of imprisonment. The police is currently sitting on the complaint and no legal or penal action has been taken till now.