Madurai

Ramnad police bust a major Instagram racket

Two persons from Tirunelveli and Ramanathapuram districts have been arrested on charges of threatening a woman with her morphed and nude photographs.

The mastermind, a youth from Keezhakarai in Ramanathapuram district, Mohammed Mohideen, who is pursuing engineering course in Germany, and three others from various places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, have been booked.

Ramanathapuram Superintendent of PoliceV. 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.

Mr. Varun Kumar has cautioned women against sharing their photographs or bank details on social media with strangers.

He said those affected people should come forward to complain. The SP could be contacted over his WhatsApp number 94899-19722.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 9:50:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/ramnad-police-bust-a-major-instagram-racket/article31973146.ece

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