Agency had made several arrests in the past
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered seven more cases in connection with the alleged derogatory social media posts against judges and the judiciary.
The accused persons named in the fresh First Information Reports are Maruti Reddy, Arun Ganji, Anand Sonti, Battula Ashok Reddy from Vizag, Ramanjaneya Reddy, Manvitha and Pradeep Kumar Reddy Chanda.
In November 2020, the agency had taken over 12 cases earlier registered by the Cyber Crime unit of the Amaravati CID, following the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s order, and booked 16 individuals and other unknown persons. They were accused of intentionally targeting some Judges of the Supreme Court and the Andhra Pradesh High Court through interviews to the media and abusive social media posts. Death threats were also issued.
In its directive, the High Court mentioned that on May 22, 2020, different Benches of the Court had passed orders with respect to some petitions, against the orders and actions of the State government and its functionaries. Immediately thereafter, the social media was flooded with the posts in question.
During the probe, the CBI made several arrests and filed multiple chargesheets against them. While the agency approached the social media platforms through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty channel to gather details about some suspects, it also sought the assistance of United States’ authorities in tracking down two persons, C. Prabhakar Reddy and Mani Annapureddy, against whom non-bailable warrants were issued.
The agency seized 13 digital gadgets and examined call records of 53 mobile connections linked to the suspects. It recorded the statements of 12 accused persons and 14 others.
Earlier this week, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had directed the CBI to furnish a progress report on the investigations conducted so far. During the court proceedings, Twitter submitted that it had deleted all the URLs identified by the agency as ordered by the Court, and removed all the derogatory posts from its platform.
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