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Remember the man Google and an Indian ISP helped Indian cops arrest for the crime of posting an allegedly defamatory picture on Orkut? He now says that during the 50 days he spent in jail, Indian police beat him and made him eat from the same bowl he used as a toilet.

The accused, Lakshmana Kailas K, has sued the ISP, Airtel, for more than $4 million, according to Techgoss.

But thanks to the vagaries of Indian law, if Lakshmana has a case, it's not because he was arrested for an act the right to free speech should protect. It's because he was wrongly accused of that crime.

The story goes like this. After a Google user posted a profane picture of the Hindu saint Shivaji to Google's social network, Orkut, Indian authorities contacted Google to ask for his IP address. Google complied. Then, Indian cops took that information to the ISP, Airtel. Airtel handed over a physical address that it claimed corresponded with Google's data. But it was the wrong physical address, leading to Lakshmana Kailas K's subsequent arrest, harassment and beatings.

Here's the scary part. If Airtel had been more competent in its record-keeping, Indian authorities would have likely arrested and beaten the actual poster, and you'd never have heard about any of this.

(Photo by phauly)