Video-chat ‘girl’ turns blackmailer, police arrest ‘him’

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. All this was apparently made possible employing a special 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 night. 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 (24), is reported to be an Ahmedabad resident from a business family. 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 said software.

"The software, available online, lets people use pre-recorded videos to be passed off as live footage during video chats. Lala convinced the complainant to indulge in some compromising actions, and saved the footage on his own computer. The next day, he called the complaint, having obtained his number during a prior interaction, and demanded Rs 80,000. Lala threatened to show the footage to the complainant's wife unless he complied," said Police Inspector Nandkumar Gopale, Property Cell, Crime Branch.

Lala brought it down to Rs 40,000. The businessman registered a complaint with Sion police.

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 he had sold the SIM card to a stranger for Rs 500.

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