Pune: Pimpri Chinchwad Police Busts Sextortion Racket, Victim’s Suicide Sparks Investigation

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Reported By Varad Bhatkhande

Pimpri Chinchwad, 11th June 2024: In a joint operation, Pimpri Chinchwad Police’s Anti-Extortion Squad from Crime Branch and Dighi police station’s Detection Branch (DB) has uncovered a fraudulent scheme operated by individuals posing as call girls to extort victims. Their most recent victim, a 35-year-old, took his own life due to the pressure of ‘sextortion’. Investigating the matter, the team successfully dismantled this racket and arrested six suspects from West Bengal.

The victim, identified as Kiran Namdev Datir, aged 35 and a resident of Dighi, ended his life on 15th May 2024, around 9:30 PM at his residence. His maternal cousin, Saurabh Sharad Virkar, aged 26, complained to the Dighi Police Station. In connection with this case, the authorities arrested Suraj Kumar Jagdish Singh (27), Naveen Kumar Mahesh Ram (23), Sagar Mahendra Ram (23), Murali Hiralal Kewat (24), Amar Kumar Rajendra Ram (19), and Dheeran Kumar Raj Kumar Pandey, all residents of Kolkata, West Bengal.

Charges have been filed against the accused under IPC Sections 306 (abetment of suicide), 385 (putting a person in fear of injury to commit extortion), and 34 (acts done by several people in furtherance of common intention), along with relevant sections of the Information Technology Act of 2000.

According to police reports, the deceased, Datir, came into contact with fraudsters under false pretences. Believing he was engaging with a call girl, he initiated contact with them. Following this, the accused edited Datir’s WhatsApp profile photo obscenely, threatening him and demanding money. Initially, Datir complied with their coercive demands and paid Rs 12,000. However, the accused persisted, repeatedly calling him to extort Rs 51 lakh. Overwhelmed by this relentless pressure, Datir took his own life on 15th May.

Recognizing the severity of the crime, the Pimpri Chinchwad Police initiated a thorough investigation. Through technical analysis, the mobile numbers from which the deceased received threatening calls were traced to Kolkata, under the jurisdiction of Nager Bazar Police Station. Collaborating with Nager Bazar Police, Pimpri Chinchwad police officials conducted raids and detained the six accused. Additionally, they confiscated 15 smartphones, 7 voice-changing mobile devices, 40 SIM cards, 14 debit cards, 8 Aadhaar cards, 8 PAN cards, and 8 notebooks, with a total value of Rs 4,84,000.

Modus Operandi:

The accused would procure new SIM cards and create Gmail accounts using false information. They would list the names of call girls nationwide on Google and falsely claim to provide their services through Google. Exploiting the allure of these false promises, they deceived individuals into parting with their money. Upon contacting the listed numbers, the accused, using voice-changing mobile devices, would engage with the victims, establishing connections through fake social media accounts and utilizing photos from victims’ social media profiles, which they would then edit obscenely. These edited photos were subsequently used for sextortion via WhatsApp, demanding large sums of money, although often settling for lesser amounts.


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Team Work:

This operation was conducted under the guidance of Pimpri Chinchwad Commissioner of Police Vinoy Kumar Choubey, Additional Commissioner of Police Vasant Pardeshi, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Doifode, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 3) Dr Shivaji Pawar, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dr Vishal Hire, Assistant Commissioner of Police (MIDC Bhosari Division) Sachin Hire, Senior Police Inspector Vijay Dhamal, and Senior Police Inspector Santosh Patil. The team included Assistant Police Inspector Nitin Ambhore, Police Sub-Inspector Sunil Bhadane, and Police Constables Kishore Kamble, Sunil Kangude, and Pradeep Godambe, among others.