Mumbai chat ‘girl’ turns out to be man, held for blackmail

Video chats with a "good-looking girl' turned out to be a nightmare for a Mumbai-based businessman, when the girl turned out to be a 24-year-old man who started blackmailing him. During chat sessions, he allegedly enticed the businessman to do some unsavoury antics and slyly recorded it. This was made possible employing a software that passed off pre-recorded video as live footage.

The suspect, an MBA graduate, however, ran out of luck and was arrested from Ahmedabad on Wednesday. In a bid to evade detection, he had cooked up a story and bought a SIM card from a man to make the extortion call, the Crime Branch said. The man who sold it, however, had noted down the registration number of his car, which led to his arrest.

The accused identified as Nikhil Lala, is reported to be an Ahmedabad resident. The police said Lala befriended the businessman staying in Sion on an online chatting forum posing as a girl in January. After frequent interactions, Lala initiated a video chat and continued his charade as a girl using the software. "Lala convinced the complainant to indulge in some compromising actions, and saved the footage on his computer. The next day, he called the complaint, having obtained his number during a prior interaction, and demanded Rs 80,000. He threatened to show the footage to the complainant's wife," said Inspector Nandkumar Gopale. After much pleading Lala brought the price to Rs 40,000. The complainant was unwilling to pay the amount and registered a complaint with Sion police.

The police traced the number. It was registered in the name of Kanti Chauhan, who works at a garments store in Ahmedabad. A police team was sent to question him. Chauhan told the Crime Branch that he had sold the SIM card to a stranger for Rs 500. Chauhan said the stranger stopped him while he was on the way to his workplace and convinced him to sell his SIM card for Rs 500, saying his own had been blocked due to technical problems and he needed another urgently. Chauhan agreed, but smelt a rat. He jotted down the number of the car. Lala was brought to Mumbai on Thursday.

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