Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi roped in the cyber crime cell on Sunday to probe Rashtrapati Bhavan’s complaint against former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi for posting “defamatory” tweets against President Pranab Mukherjee and his secretary Omita Paul.
Sources told HT that Bassi wanted the cyber cell to get the complaint examined by its legal experts to determine the sections of the penal code that could be invoked against Modi. Delhi Police has not registered a FIR so far.
A police officer said an option was to book Modi under section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code that relate to criminal defamation, as the tweets intended to bring disrepute to the President and his office. It could also move court to seek a directive to Twitter to remove the offensive tweets.
Paul had last week sent a formal complaint to Bassi, in which she had sent screenshots of tweets from June 23 and June 25 along with an 80-page file that Modi, being probed by the Enforcement Directorate for alleged money laundering, had attached to his posts.
Bassi was not available for comments despite repeated phone calls. A text message sent to him also went unanswered.
The controversial posts show a picture of the President, his secretary, and businessman Vivek Nagpal, who Modi alleged had taken favours from Mukherjee during his days in the finance ministry.
According to IPC’s section 499, “Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter expected, to defame that person.” It carries simple imprisonment for a period of two years or a fine.