'BOIS LOCKER ROOM': Lawyers approach Delhi HC to invoke POCSO

New Delhi: As the Delhi Police digs deep into the "Bois Locker Room" case, two Supreme Court advocates have written to Chief Justice DN Patel of the Delhi High Court, asking it to take suo motu cognizance of the case and specifically direct police authorities to invoke relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), sharing several testimonials that revealed explicit images of minor girls being shared on the social media group.

So far, the Delhi Police Cyber Crime Cell (CCC) has not invoked charges under POCSO Act in its FIR in the case. Police have, however, identified at least 27 members who were at one point associated with the group. Of these, two were found to be adults and the rest were all from four prominent private schools in South Delhi and one private school in Noida. Police said they are verifying the birth certificates of the adults.

After the first arrest in the case, several gruesome details have emerged so far about the way the Instagram group chat was operating and how it started.

A police officer said they had started to get a picture of how this group was started after two days of questioning at least 15 members of the group, which include minors and adults.

"One of the boys has revealed that he knew the group admin only through the social media platform and that not all members of the group knew each other personally," the official privy to developments told the Millennium Post, adding that the group's link was sent around through word of mouth and mutual links.

According to police sources, one of the boys who was questioned had revealed that the Bois Locker Room group was initially created just to chat among friends until one person started posting explicit photos and then everyone else followed. "People eventually started posting these photos and it was just for fun," one of the juveniles is learnt to have told police.

Officials added their probe has also revealed that the boys had deleted crucial evidence from the group chat after its existence was made public by one of the victims on Sunday. "We have found that a lot of material from the group chat was deleted soon after the incident became public," one senior official said.

In fact, the testimonials and evidence submitted by advocates Neela Gokhale and Ilam Paridi in their letter to the Delhi HC Chief Justice show that after the existence of "Bois Locker Room" was revealed, some members of the group went ahead to create a separate group chat where they discussed leaking explicit photos of the women and girls who had spoken up against them.

Some of the screenshots submitted to the court showed threats being made against whistleblowers. The lawyers said that some even received threats such as: "Bada feminist banna ha na inko. They'll know. Kahin muh dikhane layak nahi rahengi." Some of the screenshots also explicitly targeted the women who spoke up against the boys.

One of them had messages such as: "I am gonna F*** every single one jisne story daaali." Another message in the chat said: "Bhai jitne bhi ladkiyon ne stories daali hai na sabki nudes leak kar dete hain." Another member replied to this message with: "Areyyy sahi idea haii."

More exchanges submitted to the court indicated that one of the members had already leaked explicit photos of one of the victims and was telling other members that he was on his way to leaking other photos as well.

Given that several of the boys questioned had admitted to the existence of many other similar group chats, the CCC has said that the scope of the probe is fast expanding. "It is also likely that many such groups were deactivated as soon as this became public. We are also looking into that," officials said. Further, sources said the boys claimed that the "gangrape" chat was not from Bois Locker Room, but another group, which is being probed, said police officials, adding that so far all the suspects were using their personal phones.

Police also said that they are trying to find out exactly how many screenshots from these groups were taken and who they were circulated to.

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