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Kotkhai gangrape-murder: Virbhadra’s IT cell under CBI scanner for FB goof up

The cyber cell is being tight lipped about the episode, neither accepting nor denying having received a complaint.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2017 09:48 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Kotkhai gangrape-murder,Virbhadra Singh,Virbhadra’s IT cell
On July 12, photographs of the four youth were uploaded on the CM’s Facebook page in a post that claimed that the police has nabbed the suspects(HT File )

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s IT cell has reportedly come under the scanner of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that is probing the Kotkhai rape and murder case and the death of a Nepalese national in police custody.

Sources in the CBI said that the CM’s IT cell is under the scanner as it uploaded the photographs of four innocent youths on his Facebook page and projected them as suspects who were called for interrogation by the police in the Kotkhai rape and murder case. The chief minister’s office is tight lipped on the entire goof up.

On July 12, photographs of the four youth were uploaded on the CM’s Facebook page in a post that claimed that the police has nabbed the suspects. The photographs were uploaded at 10: 37 pm but pulled down within an hour. The uploading and downloading time has been recorded in Facebook analyser.

Meanwhile, CM’s IT advisor Gokul Butail denied having any information on the case. “All I can say is that it was not downloaded or uploaded by me,” he said.

However, the Facebook post acted a catalyst to the widespread public anger against the alleged mishandling of the case by the police. The pictures of the four youth had gone viral which further strengthened doubts about the shoddy police investigation.

In his post dated July 12, the Virbhadra wrote: “I would like to inform the people of Himachal Pradesh that four suspects have been taken into police custody and further investigations are being conducted.” The post went on to congratulate the investigating team lead by IGP Zahur Zaidi for “cracking” the case.

The chief minister's Facebook page is run by a group of administrators, including some volunteers. Sources say, the chief minister has ordered an internal inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the goof up and also sought legal opinion on the matter. One of his social networking manager has reportedly been removed.

The four youths whose photographs were widely shared on the social media wherein they were labelled as the culprits in the Kothkai rape and murder case, later filed a police complaint as they “feared” for their life. They had also submitted a complaint with the cyber cell and sought its help in getting their photographs removed from the social medias.

The cyber cell is also tight lipped about the entire episode. It neither accepts nor denies having received any complaint.

First Published: Jul 29, 2017 11:06 IST