Mumbai: 29-year-old held for running sextortion racket

According to the Kasturba Marg police, the complainant in the case, a 52-year-old man staying in Borivali, received a Facebook friend request from the accused in May this year.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Tuesday, August 02, 2022, 09:57 PM IST
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Photo: File

The Kasturba Marg police have arrested a 29-year-old Borivali resident for allegedly running a sextortion racket through Facebook, where he would send friend requests posing as a woman, start romantic or intimate conversations, and then use screenshots of the conversations to blackmail his victims.

According to the Kasturba Marg police, the complainant in the case, a 52-year-old man staying in Borivali, received a Facebook friend request from the accused in May this year.

The accused had created the profile using the picture and details of a woman staying in the complainant's building, which is why he accepted it. Immediately, the accused initiated a conversation and over the next few days, started sending romantic messages to the complainant.

Soon, the accused sent obscene and pornographic content through Facebook chat and then took screenshots of the conversation. Using this, he started blackmailing the complainant, saying that he would send them to everyone in his building and defame him.

"The complainant was terrified and paid Rs 10,000 to the accused in various instalments. However, the demands for money continued and in the meantime, the accused did the same with 10 to 15 other residents of the same residential society. At the same time, the woman whose name the fake profile was created was informed about the same by some of the society members. As soon as it became clear that the woman's personal information had been misused, the woman and the complainant approached us on July 30," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Somnath Gharge, Zone XII.

The police registered an FIR against unidentified persons and then set about laying a trap. Acting on the police's instructions, the complainant expressed willingness to pay a further amount of Rs 10,000.

Subsequently, an elaborate trap was planned.

The complainant decided on the 'dead drop' method of delivery, where the concerned package is left at a pre-decided spot by the deliverer, who then leaves the spot, without waiting for the recipient to arrive.

The police cut sheets of paper in the shape of currency notes folded them into a bundle and placed them inside an envelope. The complainant placed the envelope near the left rear wheel of a car parked near the building and walked away, while policemen in plain clothes, who had already stationed themselves around the spot hours earlier, watched and waited.

"A short while later, the accused turned up and, after ensuring that no one was watching - or at least believing so - went to the car and picked up the envelope. As soon as he did so, we moved in and arrested him," Gharge said.

The accused, identified as Tushar Talashiklar, 29, is a resident of the same area and knew the woman as well as the victims. He has been charged with extortion under the Indian Penal Code, along with relevant sections of the Information Technology Act. The police are now recording statements from his other victims and digging further into his antecedents.

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