Bengaluru teen trapped by online predator

The Supreme Court has made it clear that it wants to make Internet companies liable under Indian laws.   | Photo Credit: K_K_Mustafah

In a disturbing case of a child falling prey to an online predator on social media, a 13-year-old boy from a city school was allegedly lured into taking videos and photographs of his parents in the nude. He then sent to his Facebook ‘friend’, who used the footage to blackmail the boy and his parents.

The accused, whose identity and gender the police are still trying to ascertain, allegedly contacted the parents demanding ₹1 crore from them if they didn’t want the photos and videos to be uploaded online.

Groomed over months

The police suspect it is a case of a predator carefully building a relationship with a vulnerable boy over months. In June 2016, he befriended an individual, who went by the name of Thejal Patel, on Facebook. Without the knowledge of his parents, the boy chatted with Patel — who claims to be 21 years old on the now defunct account via Facebook Messenger, a police officer said. This went on for months and, by April 2017, the accused had gained the boy’s trust. “He was able to convince the boy to take revealing photos and videos of not only his parents, but also himself and send it via Messenger. We suspect that Patel was able to get the details of the boy’s parents, such as their professions and contact numbers,” said a police source.

Bengaluru teen trapped by online predator

Patel first started sending adult content to the boy. According to police, he convinced the boy to send him nude photographs of himself. Subsequently, the boy was asked to send similar photos of his parents. The boy filmed his parents using his smartphone and sent the visuals to Patel. Soon, Patel started blackmailing the boy and threatened to post the footage on pornography sites. Earlier this month, he contacted the parents, who then approached the local police on May 20.

The boy confessed everything to his father, who works in a private firm. The father approached the police. He told the police that Patel had victimised other children too. Cases have been registered under Section 67 B of the Information Technology Act, which deals with punishment for publishing or transmitting sexually explicit material of children in electronic form, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 3:27:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bengaluru-teen-trapped-by-online-predator/article18585869.ece

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