Indian filmmaker arrested for tweeting photo of home minister with official accused of corruption

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Avinash Das was detained from his home in Mumbai on Tuesday (Facebook/Avinash Das)
Avinash Das was detained from his home in Mumbai on Tuesday (Facebook/Avinash Das)

Indian filmmaker Avinash Das has been arrested by the police after he shared an image of the federal home minister with a civil servant recently held on charges related to money laundering.

Mr Das was detained on Tuesday for tweeting a picture of Amit Shah with Pooja Singhal, an Indian administrative servant who was arrested in May by the Enforcement Directorate, the federal anti-money laundering agency.  She was arrested on 11 May, after the agency conducted raids at several places in India. Ms Singhal has denied any wrongdoing.

While, the case in the matter was registered against Mr Das 46 days back, a team of police officers from Mr Shah’s home state Gujarat held the filmmaker from his residence in Mumbai and brought him to Ahmedabad city on Wednesday where he was “officially arrested at 4 am”.

The filmmaker, known for making the Netflix series She, has also been booked for insulting national honor by sharing the image of a woman wearing India’s national flag.

“It is the duty of every Indian citizen to respect our national flag,” said Ahmedabad crime branch’s deputy commissioner of police Chaitanya Mandlik, reported the Indian Express. “Our social media team was on the watch when we got to know about a filmmaker Avinash Das who posted an indecent display of our national flag on social media thereby insulting it.”

The crime branch alleged that he shared the picture with an intention to tarnish the image of the country’s home minister, reported news agency, Press Trust of India.

“After many attempts, Das was detained in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon and brought to Ahmedabad. He has been formally arrested at 4 am on Wednesday morning and legal procedure is going on right now. We are seeking remand of seven days,” the officer added.

A preliminary chargesheet was filed in Ahmedabad on 13 May, in which Das was booked on charges of forgery to harm the reputation of a person, under the Indian Penal Code. In the same case, he was also charged under the sections of prevention of insult to national honor act for allegedly sharing a “morphed picture of a woman wearing a tricolor”.

The arrest came as the sessions court and Gujarat High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea application. His plea seeking anticipatory bail was pending before the Supreme Court of India and was listed for 22 July.

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