How criminals get face 'booked'

Jun 03, 2012, 07:07 IST | Samarth Moray

The social networking website is a treasure trove of information for investigative agencies that has helped them make major arrests in some of the biggest cases this year

Facebook may help commoners find their long-lost friends and forge new relationships, but over the last year, it has also hugely helped investigative agencies get vital leads and make major arrests in sensational cases. Last Friday, the Mumbai police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad filed a chargesheet against the accused in the 13/7 blasts that rocked the city last year. Investigations by the police revealed that the alleged bomb planters, Naquee Ahmad and Nadeem Akhtar were both Facebook friends with mastermind Yasin Bhatkal, who is currently absconding. Over 100 screenshots taken from their social networking websites’ accounts have now been annexed to the chargesheet.

Revellers who were rounded up from the ‘rave’ party busted on May 20

Attending? Yes/No/Maybe
The ‘rave’ party raided by Additional Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil on May 20 mobilised attendees via Facebook. The event, created by organiser Vishay Handa, was called ‘SUNDAY With the HIPPIES ;)’. It read, “DESIGNER HIPPIES (United Beats Records, USA) ARE bringing the SUN “DOWN” Lets rock this town — so get ready to get high. Please do not try to FLY… Because Flying is an illusion not a Reality, come with us and we’ll make you feel Gravity… ;)” Cops later used the invite to track attendees and detained over 91 persons from the Oakwood Premier Hotel in Juhu.

‘Sooding’ news
When model-turned murderer Simran Sood, accomplice of the now-infamous Vijay Palande, was arrested by the police for her role in the Viveka Babajee suicide and Karan Kakkar murder case, celebrities were up in arms over the number of photos she had taken while posing with them. Sood had clicked pictures with actors Chunky Pandey and Neil Nitin Mukesh, among others, which were uploaded on Facebook. Sleuths later went through Babajee’s Facebook account as well, looking for evidence against her former boyfriend, stockbroker Gautam Vora.

Leaked paper? Share!
On May 23 at 2 am, just hours before the first-year engineering exams, photographs and scanned copies of the Applied Physics II question paper were uploaded on a Facebook group called ‘SceletonZZZ..’, most of whose members were engineering students. The page was deleted the next day. The university officials refuted the Crime Branch’s theory that the paper had been leaked as there was no evidence to prove it.

Faking it
Earlier this month, the Mumbai Cyber Crime cell arrested a 19 year-old boy from Delhi for creating a fake Facebook profile of IPS officer Meeran Borwankar. Anubhav Bipinkumar Yadav, who hailed from Uttar Pradesh, was picked up by the branch after Borwankar, who has a genuine Facebook profile, asked them to investigate the matter. Cops traced the boy’s IP address from where the account was created, and sent a team to nab him. He was arrested for cheating and impersonation. 

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