DCP (IFSO) KPS Malhotra said that Niraj Bishnoi had been admitted to BTech at Vellore Institute of Technology, Bhopal, and was studying computer science. He was brought to Delhi and confessed to his role, police said.
Bishnoi allegedly created the app using his laptop – forensic scientists tracked the remains on the device – and gave it to online propagators for distribution. Police have recovered the list codes of people whose contact details have been posted on the app.
Bishnoi also managed the original Twitter account which first uploaded the details of the “Bulli Bai” app, officials said.
“With Bishnoi’s arrest, the case was completely resolved. He was the main conspirator and creator of the app on Github,” said Malhotra.
Based on a complaint filed by a reporter at the Southeast District Cyber Police Station, Delhi Police had filed an FIR under IPC 509 Sections (word, gesture or act intended to insult modesty of a woman) and 354A (sexual harassment and punishment for harassment). The woman alleged that her photo was uploaded from Twitter accounts like @bullibai_. Several other complaints also emerged.
While Delhi Police requested information from Twitter about the account that first tweeted about ‘Bulli Bai’, asking it to remove offensive content, as well as GitHub about the developer of the application, none returned.
However, Twitter suspended accounts that tweeted about the app. Github also deleted the app and blocked the user, as confirmed by Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, but did not share any details about the suspect. The San Francisco-based company had not shared any details about the user with cops in a similar case of the “Sulli Deals” app in which an FIR was registered on July 7 of last year. Later, Delhi Police asked Github for details using the official Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) channel.
This time, however, Delhi Police did not rely on GitHub for information and conducted their own technical investigation. Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana transferred the investigation to the IFSO unit and formed a task force led by DCP Malhotra and made up of several cyber experts.
Tracking the suspect, sources said, was tricky because a prima facie case suggested the user had covered his tracks well using a virtual private network.
“The case was very technical in nature. With the help of CERT-IN, an analysis of the raw data was undertaken and the location of the suspect was identified as Jorhat,” added Malhotra.
Finally, a team comprising ACP Raman Lamba, Inspectors Hansraj and Vijender and SI Neeraj raided the Digambar Chuk area and also carried out a door-to-door operation to locate the suspect’s house on Wednesday evening. Bishnoi was found around 11 p.m. and taken for questioning, sources said. His laptop and his mother’s cell phone, which he was using, were seized and he was placed under arrest.
This is the fourth arrest in this case. The other three, arrested by Mumbai police, include Shweta Singh from Uttarakhand, who is believed to be one of the main defendants in the case, Mayank Rawal, also from Uttarakhand, and Vishal Kumar Jha, a sophomore student at engineering, based in Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, the Vellore Institute of Technology said Bishnoi was suspended with immediate effect.