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First arrest over Tweet

November 6, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ravi Srinivasan did it by becoming the first person in India to be arrested for a tweet. The 46-year-old runs a packaging business in the Pondicherry, South India.

On 20 October, he tweeted to his 16 followers saying that Karti Chidambaram, a politician belonging to India’s ruling Congress Party and son of Finance Minister P Chidambaram, had “amassed more wealth than Vadra”. He was alluding to Robert Varda, son-in-law of Congress Party Chief Sonia Gandhi  who was at the centre of a political row after allegations over his links with a top Indian property company. Mr. Vadra denies the charges.

Karti Chidambaram (@KartiPC) did not take the tweet in good humour and filed a police complaint on 29 October.

He later tweeted: “Free speech is subject to reasonable restrictions. I have a right to seek constitutional/legal remedies over defamatory/scurrilous tweets.”

Explosion of support

The police in Pondicherry acted with unusual speed.

They arrested Mr Srinivasan early next morning, charged him under Section 66A of India’s IT Act, and demanded 15 days of police custody. Pondicherry’s chief judicial magistrate declined remand and granted bail.

More at Kractivist

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