What started as an attempt at humour took a serious turn and ended in arrest of the manager of a Mumbai-based motorsport team in Chennai early on Saturday.
Yohann Sethna, sporting manager of JA Motorsport team, was arrested by the cyber cell in the Tamil Nadu capital.
Sethna had allegedly uploaded an edited video on YouTube that shows navigator Vivek Ponnusamy and driver Samir Thapar arguing during stages of the Indian National Rally Championship’s Coimbatore leg earlier this year.
Confirming the arrest, police officer Melwyn Rajasingh, Cyber Cell, Central Crime Branch, Chennai, added: “Sethna is out on bail.”
Sethna is in Chennai for the National Four-wheeler Racing Championship round and was arrested from a hotel there.
Sethna, who has been associated with motorsports for a long time, was shaken by the whole incident and preferred not to elaborate when this correspondent spoke to him on Saturday evening.
Ponnuswamy and Thapar were driving a Mitsubishi Evo X car. An in-car video camera was installed to record the entire race by the team.
Thapar had apparently posted the 40-minute video of the race on YouTube titled “The lighter side of Rallying”.
According to the complaint, Sethna digitally altered the video into a 3.5-minute clipping with “malicious intent” and posted it on the website.
The “edited” video went viral, much to the dismay of Ponnusamy, who said that it was not in the best of spirits to do so as it harmed his motorsport career and tarnished his reputation.
As it turned out, several top motorsports journalists around the world wrote about it, the most prominent being Autosport magazine from the United Kingdom.
It is learnt that Ponnusamy had requested Sethna to remove the video from YouTube. The latter did so but a tad late because it was all over the web with people sharing it and it continues to be on YouTube.
Later, a case was registered in the cyber crime cell in Chennai based on Ponnusamy’s complaint, a release from the Tamil Nadu Police said.
Just about two weeks ago, Ponnusamy, who has extensively rallied in India and abroad, sent a legal notice to Sethna for what he said was damaging to his career as a rally navigator. He had sought a reply from Sethna.
Ponnusamy has also alleged that this act has jeopardised his future as a rally navigator.
To view the video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKrNaa829K8