Mumbai: Ex-CIC gets sextortion call, threatened by fake IPS officer

Extortionists using sex videos as bait see no official designations or social boundaries.

Somendra Sharma Ashutosh M ShuklaUpdated: Thursday, September 01, 2022, 10:12 PM IST
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Mumbai: Ex-CIC gets sextortion call, threatened by fake IPS officer | Photo: Representative Image

Extortionists using sex videos as bait see no official designations or social boundaries. Recently, former Central Information Commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi, 75, received a WhatsApp video call by an unknown woman indulging in obscene acts.

Gandhi disconnected but received a message threatening to circulate the recording of the call among family and friends. He also received a call from a person impersonating a former IPS officer, threatening to take action.

As CIC from 2008 to 2012, Gandhi headed the Central body that looks into Right to Information (RTI) queries and is now a social activist advising the general public on RTI applications.

Gandhi told the Free Press Journal that he was deeply upset after the call and blocked the number thinking the worst was over. “However, more calls came from different numbers. They even asked me to share my obscene pictures. In one call on August 29, a person said he was from the police and used the name of a former IPS officer. I realised it was a fraud, and blocked that number as well,” he said. Fraudsters continued to send him text messages and links, threatening to make his photograph viral if he didn’t talk to them or answer their calls.

Gandhi said he hopes this is reported widely so that people become aware of such frauds and no one falls prey. He said, “With the rise in the ambit of the Internet, I was told this will only increase with time. While I do not feel that such crimes will end totally, there is a palpable helplessness on part of the police officers. No one officer can do something about this. This needs a systemic change and solution.”

Gandhi said customers’ Aadhaar details are taken before issuing SIM cards. “I got calls from different numbers. Why can they not be traced and held accountable? As I like to help people with RTI queries, and keep sharing my number, I take random calls that are not saved in my phone.”

Gandhi said he knows of a friend who approached his bank even as money was fraudulently being debited from his bank account through multiple transactions. The bank said they cannot do anything because the OTP (one time password) was verified, he said.

Meanwhile, in Gandhi’s case, the police have registered a case against unknown persons under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act.

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