While the Supreme Court on Friday, November 11 suspended the imprisonment sentence of YouTuber and whistleblower Savukku Shankar, he has now been arrested by the Chennai Central Crime Branchâs Cyber Crime wing for cases registered in 2020 and 2021. The arrest intimation notice was served to Shankar by officials belonging to the Cyber Crime wing at the Cuddalore Central Prison on Thursday.
As per the arrest intimation notice, which TNM has accessed, four new cases have been registered against Shankar by the Cyber Crime wing of the Chennai Central Crime Branch. The four cases include three registered in 2020 and one in 2021. One of the cases registered in 2020 is under sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505(1) (b) (Statements conducing to public mischief) and 505(2) (Statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); and the other two cases are registered under sections 153 (Wantonly giving provocation, with intent to cause riot) and 505(1)(b) under IPC. The 2021 case is registered under sections 5(1)(a), 5(1)(d) and 5(2) of the Official Secrets Act. Section 5 of the Act deals with wrongful communication, etc. of information.
Shankar was arrested in all these four cases within a span of 10 minutes, while he was still lodged at the Cuddalore Central Prison. His family members were informed about his arrest in all these cases at around 4.25 pm to 4.35 pm on Thursday.
The development took place just a day before the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear Shankarâs appeal against the Madras HC order. Shankar was sentenced to six-months in prison after the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court held him guilty of criminal contempt of court. Justice GR Swaminathan initiated suo-motu contempt proceedings against Shankar for saying that the âentire judiciary is riddled with corruptionâ and implying that the judge âmetâ someone in a connection with a case against right-wing YouTuber Maridhas.
The HC observed that Shankar was âattacking all three organs of the state viciouslyâ despite receiving an allowance from the state for the past 13 years. The court also directed the government to ensure that his offensive interviews and articles were taken down.
Shankar was a lower division clerk in the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) and got the job on humanitarian grounds after his father, an employee in the same Department, passed away. Shankar was arrested once in 2008 when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was in power and was subsequently suspended from the Department as well. After his release, he became a whistleblower and launched a website named Savukku in 2009 where he wrote about government officials, politicians, journalists, lawyers and high court judges.