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Bulli Bai Case: Who Is Vishal Kumar Jha, the 21-Yr-Old Arrested by Mumbai Cops?

An engineering student, Vishal Kumar has been charged under 6 IPC Sections. Here's all you need to know about him.

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Video Producer: Shohini Bose

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

In a major breakthrough in the 'Bulli Bai' case, Mumbai police arrested Vishal Kumar Jha, a 21-year-old man from Bengaluru on Tuesday, 4 January. The Mumbai Police had on 3 January detained the Bengaluru resident. His arrest was confirmed a day later.

On the same day, the police also detained an 18-year-old woman from Uttarakhand, identified as Shweta Singh. She has now been arrested by Mumbai Police.

Mumbai Police have detained another Uttarakhand resident, Mayank Rawat, on 5 January.

The Delhi Police on Thursday, 6 January, arrested Niraj Bishnoi, a 21-year-old man from Assam, who is allegedly the mastermind behind the 'Bulli Bai' app, taking the total number of arrests in the case to four.

What is The 'Bulli Bai' Case

On 'Bulli Bai', an app on GitHub, photos of hundreds of Muslim women were taken from their social media profiles without their consent and they were 'actioned off' as 'Bulli Bai of the day'. The matter came to light on 1 January, after several of these women opened up about the same on social media platforms.

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The same day, the Mumbai Cyber Police registered an FIR against unknown persons and Twitter handles that promoted the 'Bulli Bai' app.

Addressing a press conference on the case, the Mumbai Police on 5 January said that the intention behind creating the app was to "circulate it on a large scare to hurt sentiments of certain communities".

Modus operandi was to target women related to specific communities through the 'Bulli Bai' app and defame them. It was created on 31 December. We immediately booked a case once we received info about it.
Mumbai Police

The Case Against Vishal Kumar Jha

Vishal is a third semester or second year student of civil engineering in the Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, Bengaluru. On 3 January, Vishal was attending classes when the Mumbai Police personnel came looking for him. He was called from the class and handed over to the police. He was arrested after hours of questioning.

"We have solid proof to pin the accused to the case. We have a solid case. The links are now established.
Mumbai Police Officer To The Quint
Bulli Bai Case: Who Is Vishal Kumar Jha, the 21-Yr-Old Arrested by Mumbai Cops?

(Graphics: Aroop Mishra)

Bulli Bai Case: Who Is Vishal Kumar Jha, the 21-Yr-Old Arrested by Mumbai Cops?

(Graphics: Aroop Mishra)

Vishal was allegedly running one of the Twitter handles that was used to upload links to the websites. Police claim Vishal and Shweta knew each other through social media.

"They (both accused) were friends on Facebook and Instagram. She was handling at least three accounts related to the Bulli Bai app."
Mumbai Police Officer To The Quint
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How Did The Mumbai Police Nab Vishal?

Mumbai Commissioner of Police Hemant Nagarale said that once the probe began, the Mumbai Police first analysed the 'Bulli Bai' app on GitHub. It had only five followers. He added that both the app and the Twitter handle were named 'Bulli Bai', which helped the police personnel to nab the suspects.

This led us to Vishal Kumar Jha, a second-year engineering student from Bangalore and Shweta Singh from Uttarakhand. We analysed every Twitter handle. We have nabbed three accused till now. The whole investigation was carried out online. Some email ids have been traced. We appeal if anyone has any knowledge about these accounts, (they) should come forward.
Hemant Nagarale, Mumbai Commissioner of Police

'Vishal Pretended to be Non-Hindu'

According to the investigating team, Vishal had tried to mislead users by assuming non-Hindu identities.

Vishal Kumar had tried to mislead users by assuming non-Hindu identities. He had opened a social media account by the name 'Khalsa Supremacist'. On 31 December, he changed the names of other accounts to mirror Sikh names.
Mumbai Police Officer To The Quint

Vishal was produced before the Bandra court in Mumbai on 4 January. The court sent the 21-year-old to police custody till 10 January and granted permission to search his Bengaluru residence.

We have told the court that he (Vishal Kumar) has been falsely implicated. He has no role in the crime. The court has granted a short police custody.
Dinesh Prajapati, Vishal Kumar's Lawyer
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Despite Charges, Vishal Won't Face College Probe

Despite a criminal case involving abuse and being charged under various sections of the IPC, Vishal will neither face internal probe nor punitive measure in Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering where he studies.

In most educational institutions, internal probes are mandatory when students get embroiled in criminal cases.

The lack of probe would mean that Vishal may continue to be a student in the college without facing penal action. Further, the college sought to distance themselves from the investigation in the 'Bulli Bai' case.

Speaking to The Quint, a college management representative said on the condition of anonymity, "He is a young student and we have to think about his career too. It is not yet clear whether he is guilty. We are not planning any action as of now."

He was like any other regular student who came to the institution, only to attend classes. What happened on the app is not part of Indian culture. But, we do not know whether the student was just following others.
Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, Bengaluru

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