Man held in Bangalore sent messages to 20,000: probe

FP

Of the three arrested here last week for sending SMSes and MMSes inciting violence against people from the Northeast, the main accused, Anees Pasha, a 26-year-old cellphone repairman, alone forwarded controversial images and messages to 20,000 people using multiple SIM cards and cellphones, according to preliminary investigations.

The Bangalore police have sought the help of a cyber forensics lab at the Cyber Crimes Cell to retrieve details of all the messages sent by the trio.

Pasha has been accused of "spreading rumours through SMS and uploading videos through electronic means inciting hatred and emotional outrage against people of the Northeast".

Police sources said Pasha is a highly-skilled cellphone repairman and that the police had often sought his assistance in retrieving cellphone data during their investigations in the past.

"We have given all the phones and the computer hard disk seized from Pasha's shop to the cyber forensics laboratory to retrieve a log of all SMSes and MMSes sent and received on the phones. We hope to have a better understanding of the extent of the operation with this data,'' said the sources.

Two of Pasha's associates, Tahseen Nawaz, 32, and Shahid Salman Khan, 22, both residents of Bangalore, have been arrested on charges of disseminating false information among the Muslims in the city.

Police sources said they are looking for a fourth person from whom Pasha is suspected to have received the original SMSes and MMSes that were later forwarded in mass numbers. "Only the arrest of this fourth person who is also from Bangalore can throw light on how organised the disinformation campaign was and whether these people are linked to any disruptive elements,'' said these sources.

"We think that only people somewhere in the middle of the links have been traced. We have to now examine the downward and upward links, going phone number by phone number,'' said police sources.

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