Mumbai: Revenge porn survivor relays agony and harassment at the hands of ex-lover

Updated: Sep 08, 2019, 07:27 IST | Diwakar Sharma, Nimesh Dave

Businessman shames Virar woman over 18 months after failed relationship. Ambiguous IT Act, patriarchal stance that punishes women for being sexually active and then denying sex, means torture is far from over

Mumbai: Revenge porn survivor relays agony and harassment at the hands of ex-lover
Accused Dilip Jain

A 27-year-old woman is living her worst nightmare, after videos and nude photos of her were leaked on social media and a WhatsApp group, where most of the members were her close relatives. The woman, who suspects the involvement of her former lover, has already registered four FIRs against him, but claims that the complaints and arrests have only emboldened him.

The survivor, who lives with her parents and siblings in Virar, has identified her harasser as 43-year-old Mumbai-based businessman Dilip Jain. She was in a relationship with Jain for over three years, before things turned sour and she broke up with him. The harassment began soon after. While the court had ordered Jain's externment in April, asking that he "remain out of the jurisdiction of Palghar, Bhiwandi and Thane talukas," the woman claims that he still roams in Virar, and keeps a watch on her. The family that has been facing the brunt of the harassment, has been running from pillar to post, but is yet to get any relief.

Serial harasser

The survivor and Jain first met in 2014 at a Credit Cooperative Society, where she worked as a cashier and the accused, a caretaker. "We started dating each other and also travelled a lot together. But after a point, he started torturing me, so I broke all contact with him," she told mid-day. Since the harassment continued, she approached the Virar Police on January 20, 2018 and registered an NC against Jain. "At the time, I was working at a Virar-based store as a saleswoman. He would wait outside the shop and threaten me."

A screenshot of the WhatsApp group, where Jain allegedly shared the pictures
A screenshot of the WhatsApp group, where Jain allegedly shared the pictures

After eight days, she visited Virar police station and registered an FIR under section 376 (rape) of the IPC and 66 of Information Technology (IT) Act. Jain was subsequently arrested and lodged at the Thane Central Jail for nearly a month. When he came out on bail, he allegedly started stalking the woman again. "One day, he came to my office, and pulled me by my hair and slapped me. He then snatched my smartphone and ran away. I immediately informed my parents," she said.

A second FIR was registered against Jain on August 17, 2018. He was arrested again and released on bail. "After the second arrest, he started calling my daughter from different numbers. When we blocked him, he started calling and abusing me. We filed another NC against him in November last year," the father said.

The family registered the third FIR at the Tulinj police station in Nalasopara on December 31, 2018, when Jain allegedly assaulted the survivor for blocking him on social media. He was released within few days. "After this, he started sending me emails [from dilipsolanki74@rediffmail.com] where he threatened and abused me, and also kept sharing objectionable content."

Troubles mount

Meanwhile, he made a profile on Facebook, where he uploaded a nude photograph of the survivor as the display picture. "He described me as a call girl on Facebook, and shared my father's number, saying that he was my agent. He also displayed a rate card and started sending friend requests to my friends and relatives," she said. The woman was then advised to approach a lawyer, to request the Vasai court to cancel his bail. The court, after hearing the pleas of both parties, ordered that Jain be externed. That didn't stop him, and the family was forced to register the fourth FIR in May.

A day after the FIR was registered, Jain allegedly created a WhatsApp group, Meri Husiyari, where he added over 50 members, including several close relatives of the family, including the woman's father, and shared nude pictures of her. The family members exited the group immediately. "He has maligned my daughter and destroyed her social image. No one is ready to marry her. I don't know what to do," said her father. "He [Jain] has also violated the court's externment order, but action is yet to be taken against him." An officer privy to the investigation, said that Jain doesn't understand the gravity of the charges framed against him. "He is unstable," the official said.

The police are now waiting for a cyber forensic report from the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratory in Kalina. "We had seized his cellphones, but he had deleted all the contents. The cellphones have been sent for cyber forensic analysis and their reports are awaited. We have chargesheeted him in the cases, but will file a supplementary chargesheet if the forensic report nails him (Jain)," said the officer, adding that they have also requested Facebook to trace the IP address used to create the fake profile.

Cyber lawyer Puneet Bhasin said, "Both the IPC and IT Act have provisions, which penalise revenge porn." She added that the accused can only be charged, after the cyber cell is able to obtain incriminating material used for the crime from the electronic device of the accused.

Another lawyer, on condition of anonymity, said that the survivor's case has been complicated, due to the fact that the couple shared intimate pictures while they were in a relationship.

The Other Side

When contacted, Jain denied all the charges. "She has no character. Why would I be creating a group on WhatsApp and add her relatives? It is her strategy to prove
me guilty in court. I have full faith in the judiciary," said Jain.

First revenge porn sentencing

Dilip Jain has been charged under sections 354-D (stalking), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and 66A (for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc) of the IT Act. But, India's cybercrime laws are not said to exactly cover the nuances of revenge porn. According to cyber lawyer Puneet Bhasin revenge porn has become very common since the advent of smartphones. However, it was only last year, when the first possible sentencing in revenge porn was reported. In March 2018, Animesh Bakshi, 23, was sentenced to five years by a court in East Midnapore district of West Bengal, for sharing a nude video of his 20-year-old girlfriend on a pornography website. Apart from jail time, Bakshi was also told to pay a fine of Rs 9,000.

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