A gang of 6 has been booked by Tamil Nadu police for blackmail and extorting money from women by threatening to expose their nude and morphed photographs on social media. The mastermind is a youth from Keezhakarai in Ramanathapuram district, Mohammed Mohideen, who is pursuing an engineering course in Germany. He and his gang had extorted crores of rupees from several women that they befriended on Instagram. 2 of the accused have been arrested.
As per a report in The Hindu –
“Ramanathapuram Superintendent of Police V. Varun Kumar received a tip-off from a married woman of Keezhakarai that some unidentified persons were threatening a woman using an Instagram, a social media vehicle, and fleecing her. “The complainant herself was a victim to the racket,” the SP said.
In a statement, he said the culprits had created Instagram accounts and befriended women. After getting their photographs, they morphed them and threatened the women that they would post them on social media. “Subsequently, they forced the women to appear nude during video calls. The accused used to take screen shots of the video calls and recorded them,” the SP said.
Later, they made them pay ransom for not releasing the photographs and videos on social media. In the present case, they made her transfer money – ₹7.50 lakh in instalments – to their bank account. Based on the complaint, the Cyber Cell and Social Media Cell made a thorough investigation, including tracing the bank transactions on Google Pay, PhonePe and Paytm.
The team zeroed in on Mohideen who had cheated many women in this fashion and received crores of rupees. The police have found money transactions among the culprits in the form of payment of commission to the friends in India for their role in collection of money.
Other accused in the case are Mohammed Ibrahim Noor of Puducherry, Basith Ali of Chennai, Josam Kani of Tirunelveli, Bard Faisal of Keezhakarai and Mohammed Jaseem of Nagapattinam. They have been booked under various Sections of Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act. The police have arrested Kani and Faisal and sent them to judicial custody.”
Recently, a similar case had been reported from Kerala where a gang led by one Mohammed Sharief was involved in extorting money from models and actresses using fake social media profiles and other tricks like fake marriage proposals, ad shoots etc.
In 2017, Ibrahim (22) posing as ‘Siva Idiot’ on Facebook lured a 13-year-old schoolgirl in Tamil Nadu into running away with him. He then proceeded to rape her in a friend’s motel, and later his friend too sexually assaulted the girl. Ibrahim was friends on Facebook with 5000 young girls and had assaulted other victims as well.
In another case from Tamil Nadu, high school dropout Muhammad Shafi (30) sexually assaulted more than 30 Hindu women in Kerala after deceiving them by posing as an NRI surgeon ‘Satish Raghavan’ looking to get married. He also extorted more than Rs. 50 lakh from the women. When asked why he targeted only Hindu girls, he told investigators “as a devout Muslim, it is a sin to molest a Muslim girl.”
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