TIRUPATI: Tirupati police arrested three persons, allegedly belonging to the TDP, for posting a misleading photo with a message that church-like structures were coming up on Tirumala. In the police investigation, it was found that a pole installed to mount a surveillance camera on a forest watchtower was wrongly projected as a structure belonging to another faith.
Disclosing the case details to media on Friday, Tirupati Urban Superintendent of Police KKN Anbu Rajan said they arrested three persons involved in spreading false news on social media. The three arrested are Katepalli Arun Kumar and Garikapati Kartik, both from Hyderabad, and Mikkineni Sai Ajitesh Chakravarthi, a native of Guntur, based on the complaint given by the vigilance wing of the TTD on August 30.
The SP said the complaint stated that a person named Katepalli Arun Kumar posted a photograph on his Facebook page with a caption, “Yedukondalu Meeda Velustunna Yesu Mandiralu”, on August 23, and the same went viral.
“Taking the issue seriously, the DGP directed us to investigate the incident thoroughly and apprehend the culprits,” Rajan said. According to him, after registering the case based on the TTD complaint, under the supervision of Tirumala DSP TT Prabhakar, four teams were formed. Some of the teams went to Tirumala and found that the building shown in the photograph, which was posted on social media, was of forest department watch tower compartment No. 118 at Mondodi Kona, under the limits of Thimminaidu Palyam forest beat.
“Without verifying the facts, a few people have spread the news on Facebook and other social media platforms. The building houses a forest watchtower and the iron pole erected for fixing CCTV camera was wrongly projected using a long shot of the camera,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the technical teams thoroughly checked all social medium platforms, including Facebook and WhatsApp, and found that as on 23 August, 23 people shared the post. These teams inquired to find out the details of the 23 persons.
The SP said that with technical expertise the police found one Katepalli Arun Kumar was the culprit behind the falsehood and arrested him along with the other two at SV High School grounds at 4 pm on September 5 in Tirupati. They also seized mobile phones and other electronic gadgets from them.
During interrogation, Arun Kumar revealed that he had been sharing the posts from a WhatsApp group where another accused Garikapati Kartick is the admin of the group. Kartik and Sai Ajitesh Chakravarthi also admitted that they shared the post. Answering a question, the SP said that the three accused claimed on the social media platform that they belonged to an opposition party. An investigation to ascertain their claim will be taken up, he said.
The SP advised people not to post content or photos on social media without verifying authenticity lest they should harm the sentiments of people. “Police cases could prove disadvantageous to their career,” he warned.
Condemning the incident, TTD chairman YV Subba Reddy said three TDP sympathisers were arrested. He said the TDP wa resorting to ‘heinous politics’ and spreading rumours that proselytisation was taking place in Tirumala.
Accused claims to be working for TDP
Mikkineni Sai Ajitesh Chakravarthi (Aji), one of the accused in the case, posted the photograph at 11:17 am on August 24, with the caption: “Yedukondalu Meeda Velustunna Yesu Mandiralu” with the tag “Jai Rajanna Rajyam” and another tag with #savetirumalafromjagan. On his Facebook page, he claimed he was working for the TDP and posted his photographs with party chief N Chandrababu Naidu, Nara Lokesh and other prominent leaders. He claimed to be a graduate of Sengunthar Institute of Management Studies, affiliated to Periyar University and said he was a native of Guntur and living in Vizag.