The Pune City Police arrested at least 54 people for allegedly posting derogatory material about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on social media on Tuesday.
The action was taken in response to a complaint filed on May 10 by Pradeep Gawade, a BJP activist and advocate.
"We will be naming the 54 persons as accused in an earlier FIR lodged by the BJP office-bearer Vineet Bajpayee," said the cyber police station's Senior Police Inspector Dagadu Hake to The Indian Express.
Mohsin Shaikh and Shivajirao Javir, leaders of the NCP's youth wing, were arrested on May 10 for allegedly posting morphed photographs of Prime Minister Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media. Gawade also lodged a complaint in this case.
Prior to that, on May 4, a first information report was filed against 13 people for allegedly defamatory and objectionable posts and messages about several political leaders, including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and others, on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
In April, Twitter in India took down about 50 tweets criticising the BJP-led government for mishandling the Covid crisis, mainly blaming the congregation at the Kumbh Mela.
Tweets from verified accounts such as Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera, Congress MP Revanth Reddy, and West Bengal Minister Moly Ghatak were among those included. Although, the tweets were restored later.