Blackmail on Facebook drives Mumbai teenager to suicide

Cops believe Abhishek Rasam (18) was driven to suicide by blackmailers who pose as girls online; a ‘girl’ had befriended him on Facebook and her ‘brother’ had threatened to file an FIR for sending lewd messages and photos to his sister unless he was given Rs 8,000

For a mere Rs 8,000, a gang of blackmailers weaved an intricate web of love and deceit and trapped an 18-year-old boy. The B.Com student, who was from a poor family and had no means of coughing up the money, ended up paying with his life by lying on the tracks between Dadar and Matunga station on Valentine’s Day.

Rasam, a BCom student of Nalanda College in Gorai, ran away from his home on February 12 and committed suicide by lying on the railway tracks between Dadar and Matunga station
Rasam, a BCom student of Nalanda College in Gorai, ran away from his home on February 12 and committed suicide by lying on the railway tracks between Dadar and Matunga station

According to the Borivli police, Abhishek Rasam could be the victim of a gang which lures young boys on Facebook posing as girls, and then extorts money by threatening to file an FIR against them for sending lewd text messages and photographs.

Cops suspect that one of the gang members had set up Priyanka’s Facebook account posing as a girl. Representation pic
Cops suspect that one of the gang members had set up Priyanka’s Facebook account posing as a girl. Representation pic

In Rasam’s case, he had got a friend request from a girl named Priyanka and, after a few days of chatting with her, started getting extortion calls from her ‘brother’, who threatened to file an FIR against Rasam unless he was paid Rs 8,000.

Officials say Rasam, a first-year BCom student of Nalanda College in Gorai, ran away from his home on February 12 and, after failing to collect the money, committed suicide by lying on the railway tracks. His head was found severed from his body.

Chance find
Even though Rasam had committed suicide on February 14, the fact that he could have been the victim of blackmail came to the fore only last week.

After Rasam’s body was found on the tracks between Matunga and Dadar, the Dadar GRP suspected that the Valentine’s Day suicide was the result of a failed love affair. The body was dumped in the mortuary of Sion hospital and they almost closed the case.

The Borivli police, meanwhile, had received a missing complaint on February 12 from Rasam’s sister, Ankita, who said that he had left their house in Gorai to attend college, but had not returned. In her complaint, Ankita said that Rasam was tense before he left the house. She tried to find out the reason, but he refused to open up to him.

As the cops began investigations, they found that, in the first week of February, Rasam got a friend request on Facebook from a girl named Priyanka. Rasam accepted her friend request and, soon, the two began chatting regularly.

“We have also recovered certain incriminating photographs from the chats that were exchanged between the two on Facebook. We also believe that the duo had similar chats on WhatsApp, but the deceased’s phone is missing,” an officer from Borivli police station said.

On March 3, the Borivli cops came across the suicide case registered with the Dadar GRP and, after the descriptions matched, asked Ankita to identify whether the deceased was her brother. Ankita confirmed that he was, and the word of Rasam’s suicide spread among the relatives.

Plot thickens
Rasam used to live in Mumbai till he was in Std VII but, after his father’s demise that year, the family could not afford the cost of his education and he was sent to Kankavli in Sindhudurg to live with his uncle. Rasam had returned to the city only last year and had taken admission in Nalanda College.

Speaking to mid-day Ankita said, “When my uncle from Kankavli heard about Abhishek’s suicide, he approached us and said that a couple of days before Abhishek went missing, he had visited him and asked his son for a loan of Rs 8,000.

When Abhishek’s cousin asked about the sudden requirement of money, he opened up to him and narrated his ordeal.” The cousin could not, however, arrange the money. According to Ankita, the cousin told her and the cops that Rasam was blackmailed by a man who claimed that he is the brother of his new Facebook friend, Priyanka.

The brother claimed that he had accessed the chats between the two and that he would register an FIR against Rasam for harassing his sister. When Rasam begged him not to, he gave him an account number and asked him to deposit Rs 8,000 in it.

Probe
The Borivli police have registered a case against an unknown person under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide), 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion) and 294 (obscene acts and songs) of the Indian Penal Code along with section 67 (A) of IT Act.

Officials said that they have recovered the account number given to Rasam from his Facebook account and the account holder, one Raju Rayban Sonune is a suspect in the case. The cops suspect that he had blackmailed Rasam posing as Priyanka’s brother.

They are also trying to trace the IP address used to set up the account of Priyanka, who had befriended Rasam. They believe one of the gang members may have set up the Facebook account posing as a girl.

Inspector Dharnendra Kamble of Borivli police station said, “We feel this could be a racket as such incidents have been occurring for some time now. Besides, they had recently victimised Rasam and demanded Rs 8,000 from him, which he couldn’t manage and, thus, he decided to end his life on the railway tracks in Dadar.”

Stripped dry
On May 28 last year, mid-day had reported how a city-based engineer’s new Facebook friend, who claimed to be a model from Karnataka, had asked him to strip for her in front of his webcam.

The engineer then got a message that his strip show had been uploaded to YouTube and the woman asked for Rs 10,000 to take it down.

The embarrassed engineer had deposited the money in the account but complained to the Bhandup police after she asked for another Rs 5,000. The police suspected that a male accomplice was also involved.

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