Hyderabad: Telangana High Court on Thursday directed the state police to file a counter to habeas corpus petition filed by a Congress leader over ‘illegal’ detention of three persons during raid on Congress war room on Tuesday.
The court began hearing on the petition filed by Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president Mallu Ravi seeking direction to police to immediately produce them in the court.
The petitioner alleged that Ishan Sharma, Tatineni Shashank and Manda Prathap were illegally taken away from by the police after the raid. Mallu Ravi also sought compensation of Rs 20 lakh each to three persons for their illegal detention.
The petitioner submitted to the court that three persons were rendering political management services for Telangana Congress party by conducting surveys, analysis, election campaign and digital media management.
The police, however, said no one was arrested. It said the three persons were questioned after giving them notices under section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The court directed the police to file a counter in four weeks and adjourned the hearing.
Hyderabad police had conducted the raid on Tuesday night as part of the investigation into complaints about derogatory social media posts against Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, his daughter K. Kavitha and others.
Police, which seized laptops, CPUs and mobile phones during the raid, reportedly found several morphed videos. The accused were making derogatory posts on social media in the names of ‘Telangana galam’ and ‘Apanna Hastam’.
Police said on Wednesday that on the basis of confessions of the three persons, they made Sunil Kanugolu the prime accused in the case. A police officer said he was absconding.
The police officer said the police were not aware that it was the social media office of the Congress party. He said there was no office name or board at the premises.
The officer said the accused were secretly operating from Mind Share United Foundation building in Madhapur and they were traced using the cyber crime tools as part of the investigation in the complaints about derogatory posts.
The accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) and 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes).
Five cases were registered against the accused at Cyber Crime Police Station and four other police stations in the city.
The police action evoked strong reaction from the opposition party, which termed it as the ‘raid on democracy’. The party organised state-wide protests against the raid on Wednesday.