Man held for rape, blackmail
File Photo

A 28-year-old man was arrested from Gulbarga for allegedly raping and blackmailing a Malad-based housewife. Dindoshi Police said that the case was registered in May last year, after the victim had lost ₹35 lakh in paying off the blackmailer, who was threatening to make the video of her rape viral online if she does not pay up. The accused has been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Police said that the accused, identified as Zakaria Mehboon Ali Shaikh, a resident of Dharwad in Karnataka, had befriended the woman on social media in 2018. The duo began chatting on the social media platform's messenger application and soon decided to meet in person. Subsequently, they met in a hotel room in Goregaon (E), where Shaikh allegedly spiked her drink and forced himself on her. Moreover, Shaikh also shot the incident and later threatened her to go public with the video.

When the woman regained consciousness, she found herself alone in a compromising position. She immediately called Shaikh and said she will approach police, only to be blackmailed for the video shot. Police said that Shaikh demanded ₹35 lakh from the woman to stay silent and not upload the video on social media. In a bid to keep the incident under wraps, the woman paid ₹35 lakh.

Shaikh, however, continued to harass her, following which she lodged a complaint with Dindoshi Police in May last year. He was booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act for rape, extortion, causing hurt by poison and criminal intimidation.

Primary probe had revealed that Shaikh had duped a number of people in Karnataka, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chandigarh and Mumbai under the pretext of buying a plot. Police had been tailing Shaikh for a long time, but he always managed to give a slip to the sleuths by constantly changing the locations. Acting on a tip-off that Shaikh was seen in Karnataka's Gulbarga district, a police team was dispatched to apprehend him.

A senior police official said that Shaikh was arrested in the wee hours of Friday from his friend's house. He was then produced in a local magistrate court and remanded to police custody till Monday. Meanwhile, police are investigating the matter further to ascertain how many more people Shaikh had cheated.

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Free Press Journal