Mumbai: Cops nab Facebook blackmailer who drove teenager to suicide

The very day mid-day revealed that an 18-year-old had committed suicide on Valentine’s Day after a Facebook ‘friend’ began to blackmail him for money, the police arrested a 23-year-old disabled youth, who confessed to swindling the deceased teenager by first posing as a girl online and then threatening to file an FIR against him for sending lewd messages.

Abhishek Rasam
Abhishek Rasam

The accused claims that this is the only time he resorted to crime to earn money, but the police suspect he may have similarly duped other boys in the past as well. This paper reported yesterday that when BCom student Abhishek Rasam was found dead on the train tracks on Valentine’s Day, the cops assumed that it was a case of heartbreak.

mid-day report yesterday
mid-day report yesterday

But the Borivli police was investigating a missing complaint for Rasam when they realised that the teenager had been regularly chatting with a girl called Priyanka on Facebook. They then pieced together that someone was posing as Priyanka and blackmailing Rasam for Rs 8,000.

Unable to find the money to pay up, the boy decided to take his life (‘Blackmail on Facebook makes teen kill himself’, March 11). The culprit had sent an account number to Rasam so he could transfer the money. The police traced the account details to Raju Sonuvane, a Panvel resident who is a small-time singer at a bar.

The police were shocked, however, to discover that Sonuvane was disabled and needed crutches to walk. They also learned that he had recently married a woman he met on Facebook.

How it happened
According to the police, Rasam, a resident of Gorai in Borivli (West), had created a Facebook account in February. He soon received a friend request from Priyanka the fake account set up by Sonuvane. The very next day, Rasam began to receive romantic messages from the account and soon fell in love.

Rasam agreed to become Priyanka’s boyfriend and exchanged phone numbers so they could chat on the phone as well. A few days later, Sonuvane called Rasam and said he was Priyanka’s ‘brother’ and threatened to file an FIR against him for sending lewd messages and photos to her unless he was paid Rs 8,000.

During interrogation, Sonuvane confessed to the crime and said he had created the fake account. He said this was the fist time he had resorted to such tactics to earn money, and that before this he had never committed a crime. But cops believe he may have used the same trick to ensnare other boys, and are currently investigating this possibility.

“The accused is handicapped in both legs and walks with the help of wooden crutches. Seven months ago, he married a woman he met through Facebook. His wife has been informed of the crime and says she knows nothing about it, as she was at work while her husband sent the messages,” said a cop from the Borivli police station.

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