A Srinivas from Hyderabad is a distraught father who discovered Twitter only when his son, 23-year-old Ramnagesh Akubathini, got arrested on Wednesday, 10 November, for having tweeted a rape threat to the daughter of Virat Kohli, captain of India's cricket team.
The father, who is now in Mumbai to assist his son with the case, says, "He made a mistake. He is ready to apologise." Mumbai police had arrested Akubathini, an IIT-graduate and software engineer, and transferred him from Hyderabad to Mumbai on the day of his arrest.
Now, Akubathini's kin maintain that his eyesight is "compromised" because of which he could have "accidentally sent the unintended tweet".
Speaking to The Quint, the father who is a technician at Medak's Ordnance Factory – a Central government establishment – said, "I did not know anything about this till the police came to our home. I did not even know that there is something called Twitter. I would have guided my son better if I knew that he was being abusive on the internet."
Akubathini should not have typed out the message, "which got accidentally sent", in the first place, he said.
From High-Earning Techie to Internet-Crazy Introvert
According to Srinivas, Akubathini was not that active online till he resigned from his job in Bengaluru. The youth who graduated with a BTech from IIT-Hyderabad had taken up a high-paying software job in Bengaluru two years ago. The salary was around Rs 24 lakh per annum, the father said, adding Akubathini turned an introvert when he resigned from his job, a year ago.
"He used to stay at home and prepare for higher education. He wanted to go abroad," the father said. Akubathini used to spend most of his time at home and never mingled with friends after he quit his job. This made him turn eagerly active on social media.
"He used to spend hours online. We never knew the dangers of this. What happened was wrong."Akubathini's Father
Srinivas said that his son never denied the charges against him. In fact, he has narrated his version of the events to the Mumbai police, the father said. "He tweeted but he was not in his right mind at the time because he was angry that the Indian team lost. He said that the tweet got sent and then deleted it. By then, it had gone viral."
The tweet was sent out after India lost to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup on 24 October.
'Eyesight Compromised': Akubathini's Version of Events
As Srinivas reiterated that his son has "made a mistake", he narrated Akubathini's version of events, which is now recorded with the Mumbai police.
Akubathini, according to his father, was upset about India's loss. He typed out the abusive message on the phone. Even as he was trying to delete what he had typed out, he "accidentally hit sent".
The tweet went out and got the attention of scores of Twitter users, many of whom reported it.
Akubathini had told his father that he sent the tweet accidentally because his phone slipped from his hand and fell. Meanwhile, Srinivas said that this could be possible as Akubathini is partially blind. "He has suffered an injury to his eye when he met with an accident. We had consulted several doctors and through a surgery restored his eyesight partially. It is possible that he accidentally hit sent," his father justified.
Akubathini had suffered the injury when he was doing his intermediate education in Shankarpally, Telangana.
According to Srinivas, Akubathini "had no intention of hurting anyone". The accused had used the handle @criccrazygirl to send out the tweet. While screenshots of the tweet was widely circulated, Alt News and Boom Live investigated to find that the handle was used by a user from Hyderabad. Subsequent police investigation revealed the identity of Akubathini.
Srinivas said, "He would not have done anything to hurt anyone. But he now understands the seriousness of what has happened." The 23-year-old was scared when his tweet went viral, the father said.
Will Akubathini issue a public apology? "He is ready to apologise. We did not raise our children to be abusers. We will correct this mistake," the father said.
Akubathini has a younger brother who is doing his BTech in Hyderabad. "I request everyone to forgive my son's mistake," the father said. The tweet had appalled users across Twitter as the threat was directed at a nine-month-old child.
Mumbai police have booked Akubathini under Sections 354 (a) 506, 500 including Section 67, 67 (b) of the IT Act.