Home >politics >policy >Facebook arrest: Maharashtra Police to drop case against girls

Mumbai: Facing flak, Maharashtra Police on Thursday decided to drop charges against the two girls whose arrests over their Facebook post criticising the shutdown here during Bal Thackeray’s funeral sparked a national outrage.

In a relief to the girls, the dropping of charges came on a day when the Supreme Court said it was considering to take suo motu cognisance of recent incidents of arrest of people for offences under Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act which deals with online offensive content.

In a related case, a 19-year-old boy from neighbouring Thane district, detained on suspicion of posting an “objectionable" Facebook comment against MNS chief Raj Thackeray, was let off after police found that a “fake account" was used by some persons in the teenager’s name.

“No chargesheet will be filed in the case of arrest of two girls from Palghar. There will be a closure report," director deneral of Police Sanjeev Dayal said. The closure report in a case is usually filed by police before the court concerned when investigators conclude that no case is made out against the accused.

Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan, both 21, were arrested after Dhada had criticised in a Facebook post the 18 November shutdown due to Thackeray’s funeral. Shrinivasan had ‘liked’ the post.

The two were later granted bail shortly after they were remanded in 14-day judicial custody. Though Dhada did not name Thackeray, a local Sena leader complained against the girls and police arrested the duo on 19 November sparking an outcry.

Maharashtra government on Tuesday suspended the two police officers, SP (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle, for arresting the girls. A bandh was observed at Palghar town in adjoining Thane district yesterday following a call by Shiv Sena against suspension of the two police officers.

Sunil Vishwakarma is cooperating with us in the case and was allowed to go last night after initial questioning. He is nowhere involved in the case," a senior police officer said.

Police in neighbouring Thane district had picked up the boy after receiving a complaint alleging that he had posted some “objectionable" comment on Raj Thackeray on the social networking site.

The boy has not been charged. According to police, a “fake account" was used by unidentified person or persons in the teenager’s name and a case was being registered in this regard.

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