(From left) Sagar Alkunte allegedly began uploading morphed nudes of women in January on fake FB and Instagram accounts. He set out on a celebratory motorcade after being released from prison last year
Pune: Sagar Alkunte is out on the streets, free to terrorise his alleged victims with impunity again. The 27-year-old resident of Hadapsar in Pune was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly uploading morphed nudes of young women and harassing them for over three months, but he was let out on bail on Thursday.
The police have booked him under sections 66C (identity theft) and 66D (cheating by personation by using computer resource) of the Information Technology Act, and 419 (cheating by personation), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming reputation) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Indian Penal Code. All charges are bailable.
The police refused to reveal the number of women targeted by Alkunte since investigation is still underway.
This isn't Alkunte's first brush with the law. He was arrested in October for allegedly attacking a 20-year-old final-year college student, Rashmi (name changed), after she spurned his repeated overtures.
He was part of the student's social circle in Std XII, and hung around with her gang of friends in college.
The friends assumed that he was a student of their college, but in the second year, one of them questioned how he had been promoted without sitting any of the examinations.
That's when the friends found out that he was only pretending to be a student of the college just so that he could hang out with Rashmi. Thereafter, they kept away from him.
That wasn't the last they saw of Alkunte. He allegedly began harassing her in September last year, repeatedly professing his love for her. Once he even accosted her, and snatched her bike's keys and her cellphone.
He then stepped up the harassment. "He began calling me up and demanding that I hand over my daughter to him. I warned him that I would approach the police," said Rashmi's father.
He laid low for a few days, but in October, he again accosted her outside her college, and brutally thrashed her. "He dragged her across the road and beat up her friends, too. He even tried to inject some liquid into her. My daughter was rescued by some students," said the father.
Rashmi and her father then approached the police on October 7, who filed a case of assault. The father then approached the commissioner of police and the joint commissioner of police, following which the charge was modified to section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC.
He was duly arrested, but released in two months.
Upping the ante
On securing his freedom, Alkunte set out from the jail to his residence, along with friends, on a motorcade.
He allegedly then sent a video via WhatsApp of his celebrated return to a friend of Rashmi, with the message, "I am back".
Emboldened by his release from prison, he allegedly created fake accounts of Rashmi - two on Facebook and one on Instagram - and uploaded doctored nude photographs of her on them. "He also put out her phone number. She received around 300 lewd SMSs every day," said the father.
Other women targeted
The family found that he had also targeted other women through Rashmi fake accounts with morphed nudes. They once again approached the police (when?), following which Alkunte was booked, arrested and let out on bail.
Sarjerao Babar, senior inspector of Swargate police station who is investigating the case, said it is suspected that Alkunte procured a SIM card in his father's name and used it to create the fake social media accounts. "We're trying to get in touch with the other victims."
Family implores victims
The father, however, feels his family is waging a lonely battle. "Other victims haven't come forward to complain," he rued.
Under duress, Rashmi has now become a shadow of herself.
"I live under constant fear of him. Standing up to his harassment brought more suffering. I was to be the first-generation graduate in my family, but my frightened mother has forbidden me from stepping out of the house," she complained.