The Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police’s Crime Branch has registered a criminal case against 22 individuals, who allegedly posted “highly offensive” content against senior Congress Leader, Digvijay Singh, reports PTI (via Outlook). The case was registered on 29th September under Section 66 of the IT Act which deals with punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services. It was registered after a 44 day probe by the Police, following a complaint filed by Digvijay Singh’s lawyer Rohit Kochar on 16th August, which had named eight websites including Facebook, Orkut, Ibibo, Twitter, MSN, Youtube, newsofdelhi.Com, dhimagkharab.Com and had sought registration of a case against then under Section 79 of IT Act.

Section 66 of the Indian IT Act lists offenses including sending by means of a computer resource or a communication device, information which is grossly offensive or has menacing character, information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance , inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will persistently, or any e-mail for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee  or recipient about the origin of such messages, and provides for a punishment amounting to imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

According to a report in Mail Today, which claims to have a copy of the FIR filed on behalf of Digvijay Sigh, the complaint states that Singh is aggrieved by the “unlawful activities” of various websites that have committed “serious criminal offence” by using computer resources to send and post “menacing, annoying, insulting and injurious” content, messages, pictures and other data.

It also mentions that the disparaging content is “grossly offensive, menacing in character” and designed to cause “annoyance, injury and insult to the Congress leader and his reputation”. It further adds that the issue has caused “acute mental pain and agony to Singh, his family members, friends and colleagues”, and that “the issue is also causing grave damage and injury to the reputation, goodwill and image of the Congress.”

Singh has asked the Police to take action to ensure that the websites expeditiously reveal the identity of the culprits, who have acted “unlawfully” by posting and spreading offensive material against him. He also added that social networking sites and other websites “cannot absolve themselves from the duty of being responsible and diligent service providers.”

We are trying to get a response from Rohit Kochar and will update the story shortly.