The Deccan police have arrested a Navi Mumbai-based tattoo artist on charges of demanding a ransom of Rs 4.5 lakh, after threatening his female friend of circulating her intimate photos via WhatsApp, a popular mobile messaging application.
The accused has been identified as 20-year-old Akshay Sanjay Bhurke, a resident of Sector-3, CBD-Belapur in Navi Mumbai.
Police constables Mahesh Nimbalkar and Rajkumar Patil nabbed Bhurke near Fergusson College in Pune on Wednesday evening, after which the
victim’s sister lodged the complaint against him.
After his arrest, Bhurke was subsequently produced in court on Thursday. The court of the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) has remanded Bhurke in police custody till December 21.
According to the complaint, the victim and Bhurke had met in Sangli before Diwali, and had exchanged their phone numbers at that time.
After Diwali, some photos of the victim were mistakenly transferred to Bhurke’s mobile via WhatsApp. On November 11, Bhurke started blackmailing the victim over those obscene photographs.
“When I confronted Bhurke over his ransom demand of Rs 4.5 lakh, he said that his mobile phone had gone missing a few days earlier, and some people who had found it were demanding money for not posting her photos on social media websites.
We were terrified by this revelation, and agreed to pay Rs 15,000. This amount was deposited in a bank account registered with a person named Ajit Chavan,” the victim’s sister has said in her police statement.
“After receiving the amount, Bhurke started demanding Rs 1 lakh more. We felt that Bhurke had an ulterior motive behind his demands and decided to meet him in person.
He asked us to meet outside Fergusson College in Deccan. We informed the local police and laid a trap to nab Bhurke,” she added.
Police constable Nimbalkar said, “Bhurke works as a tattoo artist and possesses a smartphone. We are conducting his custodial interrogation to find out if he has saved any of these photos or videos on his personal computer at home.
We also need to find out the bank account holder’s details and if that person is also involved in this offence.”