Police added that Disha’s associates, Nikita Jacob and Shantanu, were also on their radar, claiming that the three were connected to each other through a woman associate of Khalistani sympathiser, Mo Dhaliwal, who runs an organisation called Poetic Justice Foundation.
Disha, 22, was arrested by Delhi Police at her Bengaluru home on Saturday. She has been charged with crimi nal conspiracy and sedition besides other offences and remanded in police custody for five days. The cops claimed to have retrieved crucial WhatsApp chats from Disha’s phone.
“I am really sorry, we are all panicking here… But we will make sure you are in the clear,” read one of her messages to climate activist Greta Thunberg. Disha also asked Thunberg after the leak if they could refrain from saying anything at all for a while.
“I am gonna talk to lawyers… I am sorry but our names are on it… We can literally get UAPA against us,” read an alleged message by her to Thunberg. Delhi Police claimed it was Disha who had sent the toolkit document to Thunberg on Telegram and also coaxed her to act on it. She also deleted a WhatsApp group and chats which had discussions about the toolkit, the cops said, adding that these prompted the decision to place her under arrest.
“Her arrest was made in the presence of her mother and local police. Her lawyer was informed and she was produced before the court as per established procedure. In the court, she was represented by a lawyer and the same finds mention in the court order,” said joint commissioner Prem Nath.
Addressing a press conference, Delhi Police said its first stop was the house of suspect Nikita, who is now on the run. “Her questioning and examination of her devices revealed that a woman named Puneet, who is based in Canada, connected Disha, Nikita and Shantanu with each other and to the pro-Khalistan Poet,” said the joint CP. Based on the information gathered from searches at Nikita’s house, separate teams were sent to Beed district to question Shantanu and to Bengaluru for investigating Disha.
“The team in Bengaluru was able to extract highly incriminating information from Disha’s phone. This information made it clear that Disha, along with her colleagues, Shantanu and Nikita , created and sent the toolkit Google document to others,” said Prem Nath. According to Delhi Police, the main aim of the toolkit was to create misinformation and disaffection against the lawfully elected government.
“The toolkit sought to artificially amplify fake news and other falsehoods and precipitate action on January 26,” said the joint CP. Police said after the violence on January 26, a large number of instances of fake news, manipulated/edited videos instigating disaffection and misleading propaganda posts spreading discontent were observed on social media. “On February 4, while monitoring social media, we came across a Google document titled Toolkit on Twitter.
An initial investigation of this toolkit revealed that it was created by a pro-Khalistan group, Poetic Justice Foundation, and people associated with it,” said DCP Anyesh Roy. According to police, one section of this toolkit document mentioned action points, under the title, “Prior Action”, such as a digital strike through hashtags on January 26 and earlier and a tweet storm from January 23.
There was mention of physical action on January 26 and entering Delhi for the kisan rally and returning to the border. “…Keeping in mind all these facts, Delhi Police registered a case under Sections 124-A, 153, 153-A and 120-B of IPC pertaining to sedition etc on February 4, 2021, and started investigations,” the joint commissioner said.
Delhi Police also spoke about one Peter Friedrich mentioned in the toolkit document, saying they are probing why he was mentioned and how he was connected to the suspects in their case.
“The suspect has been running psy ops against India at ISI’s behest. He has been on the radar of the Indian security establishment since 2006. He first figured as an associate of Khalistani supporter Bhajan Singh Bhinder, alias Iqbal Chaudhary,” DCP said DCP Manishi Chandra. Bhinder, police said, came on the radar of US authorities after he attempted to purchase military-grade weapons for Khalistan groups.
Watch Toolkit case: Nikita, Disha, Shantanu created Toolkit, shared with others, police say