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66A boot on accuser foot

Mumbai, Dec. 2 (PTI): Under fire for arresting two Air India employees for their Facebook posts, Mumbai police have now registered an FIR against a colleague of the duo whose complaint had led to their arrest.

Sagar Karnik has been booked under the same controversial law, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which the police had invoked against cabin crew members Mayank Sharma and K.V. Jaganatharao Rao in May.

Sharma and Rao, who spent 12 days in jail before receiving bail, had written to the police seeking action against the cops who arrested them.

No such action has yet been taken but an FIR was registered on Friday against Karnik, assistant treasurer of the Air India Cabin Crew Association, accusing him of misleading the police.

The arrest of Sharma and Rao was one of four instances of alleged misuse of 66A that a petitioner challenging the section has cited before the Supreme Court. The court is examining the constitutional validity of 66A, whose use against citizens has sparked nationwide outrage.

Karnik had accused Sharma and Rao of posting “derogatory” remarks against the Prime Minister’s Office, the national flag and the Supreme Court while commenting on a strike by Air India pilots.

On Friday, Rao filed a police complaint accusing Karnik of maligning his reputation and misleading the police on Facebook and Twitter, leading to the FIR’s registration.