The Punjab Police on Tuesday registered a case under various sections against unknown miscreants for allegedly spreading false and patently defamatory WhatsApp and other social media messages aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the Chief Minister, using a young lady’s photograph picked up from her social media accounts without her permission.
The case, under Section 509 IPC, Section 4 and 6 of The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 and Sections 66 and 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, has been registered at the State Cyber Crime, Mohali, on a written complaint by Capt Sandeep Sandhu – General Secretary Incharge PPCC Office, to Director, Bureau of Investigation, according to DGP Dinkar Gupta.
A police spokesman said that distribution of such malicious and salacious content on social media, including news websites and TV channels, is against the law, and he advised people to refrain from spreading these lies.
Capt Sandhu had, in his complaint, sought a thorough investigation into the criminal and political conspiracy unleashed by certain unscrupulous and disgruntled elements to tarnish the reputation of the Chief Minister through defamatory messages forwarded on WhatsApp and shared on other platforms, using a young lady’s photograph, apparently taken from her social media accounts without her permission. The mode and manner in which the photograph has been used clearly falls foul of provisions of various provisions of the law, he had pointed out.
Seeking registration of FIR in the matter at the earliest “to track the source and origin of these patently false messages at the earliest,” Sandhi said “the role of certain political opponents of the chief minister in spreading this derogatory message, ahead of the 2022 assembly elections, cannot be ruled out and needs to be investigated.”
Capt. Sandhu termed the contents of the messages, containing defamatory and derogatory insinuations against the Chief Minister and a lady from Malerkotla, who happens to be an acquaintance of a relative of the CM, as “offensive, salacious and repulsive” and clearly circulated for character assassination of the Chief Minister. The message are being made viral on Facebook etc with the sole intent to defame the Chief Minister, he said.
It seems that in their endeavour to spread the lies, the lady’s photograph has been picked up from her social media accounts, without her permission, with the sole aim of maligning the image of the chief minister, said Sandhu in his complaint. In the process, these persons have also knowingly tarnished the image of the young girl, who is just starting out in life, he pointed out, underlining the need for a detailed probe into the the political conspiracy behind this defamatory campaign.
Pointing out that the use of the lady’s photograph “tantamount to invasion of privacy which is a fundamental right”, Capt Sandhu urged the Director, Bureau of Investigation, to get the matter investigated from the Cyber Cell to trace the source and origin of these false and lascivious messages, and ensure appropriate action, under the law, against the miscreants.
Sandhu later said that having failed to make a mark in the recent civic polls in the state, the Chief Minister’s political opponents were now resorting to such cheap and malicious tactics to vilify him. These actions will not succeed, he asserted, pointing out that the people of Punjab would once again vote for development and integrity, and will not be misled by such false and vicious propaganda.