A 60-year-old woman has been booked by the Andhra Pradesh CID for allegedly posting questions related to the recent styrene gas leak from LG Polymer plant at Vishakhapatnam in which 12 people lost their lives and a hundred others fell ill.
The woman, P Ranganayaki, has been booked 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.
The woman was arrested on Monday and was later released on bail on Tuesday.
'Propaganda against the government'
The Andhra Pradesh CID said that Ranganayaki had indulged in propaganda against the state government's response to a gas leak from LG Polymers plant and provoked mistrust against the state authorities, HT reported.
"If this is her first offence, she is liable for imprisonment up to three years and fine of Rs 5 lakh. If she repeats the offence she would be sentenced to five year's imprisonment, besides a fine of Rs 10 lakh," the CID said in the statement.
Woman posed 20 questions on the gas leak
Ranganayaki on her Facebook account had raised 20 questions about the Vizag styrene gas leak. There she suspected that the South Korean company might have destroyed all the evidence and fudged with clues at the factory, including misrepresenting staff attendance.
She also alleged that the company had cleverly shifted leftover styrene out of the country even when the entire country was under lockdown.
Questioning the central government announcement on shifting the company from Vizag instead of the company informing about it, Ranganayaki had questioned why there have been no arrests in the case and police chief declaring, "arrests are not our duty?."
When contacted, Ranganayaki said she did not have any bad intentions and merely shared a post put up 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 told PTI.
TDP condemn police action against the woman
A senior police officer claimed that the woman was a TDP sympathiser.
Condemning police action against the elderly woman, TDP chief and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said she has been served notice by the CID for speaking out against the government.
TDP leader Nara Lokesh said that while the state government of YSR Congress has failed to arrest a single person responsible for the tragedy, "the government is trying to suppress the common man's voice."
Police warn people against sharing false info
Meanwhile, in a statement, police warned people not to indulge in false propaganda against the government. It said if anybody is found sharing false information about the Vizag styrene gas leakage then the person would have to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh and serve a five-year jail term.
12 people died and over 100 fell ill after the styrene gas was leaked from the LG Polymers plant in Vizag on May 7.
The Andhra Pradesh government set up the committee to probe the matter. It has yet to submit the report.