Blackmailer student held on returning from Texas

25-yr-old from Kolhapur, studying engineering in the US, was nabbed when he landed in Mumbai yesterday; in 2009, he demanded Rs1.5 lakh from a friend for keeping her nude pictures private, but later posted them on a website 
After a two-year-long wait, Mumbai's Cyber Crime Cell has finally nailed a 25-year-old man for uploading nude photographs of his college friend on a social networking website. The accused, Swapnil Baliram Patole, was arrested yesterday at the Mumbai airport, on his arrival from the US, where he has been pursuing higher studies.

According to the police, Patole, who originally hails from Kolhapur, had met his victim at the Kolhapur Institute of Technology several years back, when he was pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

The girl was pursuing a degree in biotechnology at the same institution. The two befriended each other, and met often after college hours.

In June 2009, the woman was on a visit to the National Chemical Laboratory at Pashan in Pune, when Patole requested her to meet him again. "Patole had driven to their rendezvous in her car. He invited the girl to step into the car and gave her a cold drink, which he had allegedly spiked. Minutes after sipping the drink, she started feeling drowsy. It was then that Patole took her to a nearby lodge. He expressed his desire to marry her, and then allegedly took some obscene photographs of her," said a police officer from the Cyber Crime Cell.

In July 2009, Patole allegedly started threatening his friend, saying that he would upload her pictures on a website if she did not keep up ties with him. In November that year, the girl allegedly received an email, asking her to make a payment of Rs 1.5 lakh to Patole, or face the consequences.

Fake profile
"When the victim was in Mumbai, her uncle alerted her that a fake profile with her name had surfaced on a social networking site, with nude pictures of her uploaded onto it. She immediately approached us and registered a complaint," added the officer.

Cops immediately launched a hunt for Patole, but learnt that he was in Texas, USA. They received intimation of his arrival from the airport yesterday, and nabbed him. "He will be kept in our custody till December 28. We are making enquiries to see if he has cheated any other girls in a similar manner," added the officer.

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