Close on the heels of the mass exodus of northeastern people from various states in the country after mails and SMSes did the rounds warning of retaliatory attacks for the ongoing violence in Assam, the Cyber Cell of the Pune police arrested four persons in two separate cases yesterday for their contribution to the panic situation.
The four suspects were detained for allegedly sending inciting and inflammatory SMSes pertaining to the violence in Assam violence, which created panic among the northeastern community and led to an exodus from the city.
In the first case, the officials arrested 47-year-old Arif Munnawar Khan, a resident of Bibwewadi, 39-year-old Imran Irfan Khan, a resident of Vimannagar and 38-year-old Mahammad Afjal Abdul Rehman Khan, a resident of Kondhwa under Section 153 (A) and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
The suspects were produced before the Cantonment Court yesterday and remanded in police custody till August 23. While arguing for the trio to be remanded in police custody, Public Prosecutor B R Patil said the police have recovered the suspect's mobile handsets containing some inflammatory messages in the inboxes.
"The police will now need to establish the origin of these SMSes and ascertain the motive behind the act. They also need to trace the mastermind," Patil said.
Police inspector Sangita Alphanso of the Cyber Cell, who is the investigating officer in the case, said that they will be investigating whether the suspects have other inflammatory material. The police will also be requesting companies that the three suspects have taken mobile connections from, for their call report details.
In the second case, 32-year-old Sarfaraz Mohammad Iqbal Shaikh of Mamata Nagar in Sangavi was arrested under the same Sections of the IT Act. He was also produced in court and remanded in police custody till August.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) Sanjay Shinde said, "We are taking help from experts in the Cyber Cell and investigating the source of the SMSes and MMSes. He added that the suspects arrested in the two cases are well-educated and were working in private firms.