Creator of deepfake video of actor Rashmika Mandanna arrested, wanted to increase followers: Delhi Police

Deepfake creator arrested for boosting actor's followers
Deepfake creator arrested for boosting actor's followers
Deepfake creator arrested for boosting actor's followers

New Delhi | Delhi Police on Saturday said it has arrested a B-Tech graduate from Andhra Pradesh in connection with a deepfake video of actor Rashmika Mandanna that was widely circulated on social media.

The accused identified as 23-year-old Eemani Naveen, a native of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, had created the video to increase the followers on his fan page of Rashmika Mandanna on Instagram, an official said.

On November 10, an FIR was registered under sections 465 (punishment for forgery) and 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 66C and 66E of the Information Technology Act at the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO) Unit of the Delhi Police's Special Cell.

The case was registered on the complaint of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).

Soon after registering the FIR, the IFSO Unit wrote to Meta to get the URL and other details to identify the accused who made the video and put it on the social media, the official added.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), IFSO, Dr Hemant Tiwari, said that Naveen created the deepfake video of the actress just to increase the followers and posted it on the fan page on October 13.

He had used the AI (artificial intelligence) technique with the help of Youtube to make the video, he added.

The DCP said that the fan following of this page increased from 90,000 to 1,08000 within two weeks due to the deepfake video.

When Naveen later realised that it became a national sensation and also saw tweets from famous film stars against the said Deepfake video, he got scared and deleted the said posts from the Instagram Channel and also changed the name of Insta channel, he added.

Tiwari further said that Naveen had also deleted the relevant digital data from his devices.

Another officer said it was found during the preliminary analysis that the original video was uploaded by a British Indian girl on her Instagram account on October 9, 2023, and later on deepfake video of Mandanna was created and circulated on various social media platforms.

The officer said that more than 500 social media accounts related to the alleged deepfake videos were analysed during the investigation.

After the deep analysis and interrogation of suspected persons, finally Naveen's account was traced on Instagram, the officer said.

A team of Inspector Hansraj Swami and Sub-Inspector Kapil Yaduvanshi under the supervision of ACP Manoj Kumar was sent to Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, and located Naveen at his house, he added.

An officer said Naveen told the police during interrogation that he is a big fan of Mandanna and he created a fan page of her and two other film actors.

He would manage all three pages and upload original and clean videos on them, the officer said.

The officer further said that followers of the fan page of two other film stars were in lakhs but Mandanna's was below one lakh.

Naveen while pursuing B-tech completed certification in Digital Marketing from Google Garage in 2019, he added.

Naveen got more interested in digital media, police said, adding he completed courses like website development, Photoshop and video editing from You Tube and others.

He returned to his village in March 2023 and started working from home by providing services of Photoshop, Instagram channel promotion, YouTube video creation, editing and search engine optimisation on charges basis, police said.

A laptop and three mobile phones have been recovered from Naveen, they said.

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