The Delhi-based businessman behind the arrest of Mohammed Zubair
The Twitter user behind the arrest of fact-checker and co-founder of Alt News Mohammed Zubair is a 36-year-old Delhi-based real estate businessman who originally belongs to Ajmer in Rajasthan, it was announced on Wednesday the police.
Police officials, who worked to establish the identity of the @balajikijaiin Twitter account operating as “Hanuman Bhakt”, did not release the businessman’s name.
They said there was no evidence of his political party affiliation. “Investigation revealed that the anonymous Twitter account was operated by a 36-year-old property businessman from Ajmer in Rajasthan currently living in Dwarka,” said a police official familiar with the investigation. Police followed him following a response from Twitter using an IP address and he received a notice to join the investigation, the official added.
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The businessman said in his statement to police that his religious feelings were hurt. The official did not share details of when the notice was sent and the statement recorded. Zubair was arrested on June 27 for allegedly hurting religious feelings through a tweet against a Hindu deity in 2018. He was held for 24 days on hate speech allegations and is now free on bail. According to police officials, the businessman took note of the 2018 post and tweeted, tagging Delhi police and urging them to act because his “religious feelings” were hurt. A complaint was subsequently filed, leading to the arrest.
Two days after Zubair’s arrest, the businessman deleted his Twitter account and reactivated it the next day with the same name and username.
The account is now suspended.
The businessman had moved from Ajmer to Delhi a few years ago with his family, police said.
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Several FIRs have been filed against Zubair in Uttar Pradesh – two in Hathras and one in Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad and Chandauli – for allegedly hurting religious feelings.
He was released on bail after the Supreme Court granted him provisional bail, saying “the exercise of the power of arrest should be pursued sparingly”.
Cases under several sections of Indian Penal Code have been registered against him including criminal conspiracy (sections 120B), incitement of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, language , etc. (Section 153A) and intentional and malicious. act intended to outrage religious feelings (Section 295A).