CBI arrests 5 over defamatory posts against judges

CBI arrests 5 people for posting defamatory content against judges of Andhra Pradesh HC, Supreme Court

The arrests were made by the CBI in the case in which it had booked 16 individuals for allegedly posting defamatory content against the judges

Representative image. Credit: iStock photo

Five persons have been arrested by the CBI on charges of posting defamatory content against judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court on social media, a case in which the role of YSR Congress leaders Nandigam Suresh, a Lok Sabha MP, and Amanchi Krishna Mohan are under the scanner.

While three persons were arrested last month, the CBI said on Sunday, two others -- Pattapu Aadarsh and Lavanuru Samba Siva Reddy -- were arrested from Andhra Pradesh on Saturday. One of the arrested was allegedly using a passport with a name different from his real identity.

Earlier on July 9, the CBI had apprehended Lingareddy Rajasekhar Reddy when he flew down to India from Kuwait where he was residing. Dhami Reddy Konda Reddy and Pamula Sudheer were arrested on July 28.

"To investigate the larger conspiracy, the CBI has also examined certain persons, including an MP and an ex-MLA, and also continued investigation into the role of other persons who were not mentioned in the FIR," CBI spokesperson R C Joshi said. Suresh and Mohan could not be reached for comments.

A CBI official said they were monitoring the movements of Lingareddy Rajasekhar Reddy and he was nabbed the moment he landed in the country.

Read | New trend developed to malign judges: Supreme Court

The arrests were made by the CBI in the case in which it had booked 16 individuals for allegedly posting defamatory content against the judges. The FIR registered on November 11 last year came following a direction from the Andhra Pradesh High Court to look into the defamatory posts and submit its report in a sealed cover.

The case was registered under sections 153(A), 504, 505 (2) and 506 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67 of IT Act, 2000.

The High Court had also directed the CBI to look into the role of prominent persons who were intentionally targeting the higher judiciary. The posts were "made to bring hatred, contempt, incite disaffection and ill-will against the High Court and honourable judges", it had said.

The accused, "by intentionally targeting the judiciary, made derogatory posts on social media platforms against judges and judiciary, following some court verdicts delivered by the judges of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh," the CBI said.

Of the 16 people named in the FIR, the investigators have so far traced 13 of them out of which 11 have been questioned. Three of them were found to be abroad.

While five of the 11 who were questioned have been arrested, the CBI said the evidence against the remaining six people is being evaluated for necessary legal action. "CBI is pursuing to secure the presence of two other accused said to be abroad for their examination," it added.

The latest round of arrests came even as Chief Justice of India N V Ramana had passed stern comments on the working of the CBI and other agencies with regards to complaints raised by judges.

"They think it is not a priority item for them. The IB, CBI are not helping the judiciary at all. I am making this statement with a sense of responsibility and I know the incident that is the reason I am saying this. I do not want to divulge more than this," the CJI had said while hearing a suo motu case in the wake of a recent incident of the alleged mowing down of a judge in Jharkhand's Dhanbad.