The Andhra Pradesh CID police have registered a case against a 60-year-old woman for allegedly posting in social media questions pertaining to the
recent Styrene gas leak incident in Visakhapatnam in which 12 people lost their lives and hundreds fell ill.
The woman was arrested late on Monday night and was released on bail on Tuesday morning. The CID is also investigating the role of a man, Malladi Raghunath in the matter.
A case has been booked against the woman, P Ranganayaki, under IPC sections 505 (2) (making statements that create or promote enmity),153 (A) (indulging in wanton vilification), 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 120-B r/w 34 (criminal conspiracy), a press release from the CID said on Tuesday.
PV Sunil Kumar, Additional DGP (CID), said a notice under Section 41 (A) of the CrPC (notice of appearance before police officer) was also served on her.
The woman in her social media account raised 20 questions such as why there were no arrests in the Vizag gas leak case and why the government allowed the leftover Styrene to be sent back to South Korea.
A senior police official claimed the woman was a TDP sympathiser. Talking to reporters at her residence, Ranganayaki said she did not have any bad intentions and merely shared a post put by her friend. "I took permission from my friend and copy pasted it. I don't have any bad intentions. I do not know if my post is so offensive," she said.
TDP chief and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu condemned the case against the elderly woman and said she has been served notice by the CID for speaking out against the government.
TDP leader Nara Lokesh said that while the YSR Congress Party government has failed to arrest a single person responsible for the gas tragedy, it has put a 60-year-old woman behind bar for talking about the government's faults. “The government is trying to suppress the common man’s voice,” he said.
The ruling camp has claimed the previous dispensation, headed by Naidu, had allowed LG Polymers to open a plant in Vizag. YSRCP leader and Member of Legislative Council Shaikh Mohammed Iqbal said the TDP’s claim that no action has been taken against LG Polymers is not true.
“The opposition must be aware that a committee is investigating the case. Action will be taken against culprits soon after the committee submits its report to the chief minister,” Iqbal said.
Meanwhile, police warned people not to indulge in false propaganda against the government or its machinery leading to law and order problems.
In a statement, the CID said that if anybody is posting false information over the Visakhapatnam gas leakage incident, the person will have to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh and imposed a five-year jail term.
(With inputs from PTI)