Engineer in Chennai held for sexually harassing college students over social media

The 25-year-old was threatening to expose intimate photographs of one young woman who had previously been close to him, if she did not get him the phone numbers of her classmates

The Adyar Cyber Crime Cell of the city police arrested a 25-year-old engineer for allegedly harassing several college students over social media, by sending them obscene messages and videos.

The man was was nabbed by the police following a complaint from the father of a woman college student. The father complained to the police alleging that a stranger had befriended his daughter on social media and was harassing her by demanding the phone numbers of her classmates, and had also threatened to upload videos of her on social media, the complainant alleged.

On instructions of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Adyar, V. Vikraman, the case was taken up for investigaton immediately by personnel of Cyber Crime Cell. After a scrutiny of call records of the student’s mobile phone, police traced the suspect, who was identified as Arun Christopher, 25 of Mutthamizh Nagar, Tondiarpet. The suspect was caught and interrogated by the police. On interrogation, he was found to have completed a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and was working as a temporary staff of Tangedco.

Police said, “He was introduced to her through Instagram. He gained her confidence and pretended to love her. The girl was very close to him, and within two months of their relationship they were interacting on video calls. She also shared her nude photos and videos with him.”

Later, Arun managed to get her Instagram ID and passwords. By using these, he opened her account and sent messages to her classmates and friends. He stalked and harassed them, said police. The young woman’s friends told her father about this, since the obscene messages came from her account. Then the victim told her parents about the trouble. Arun used to threaten her, saying that he had several pictures and videos of her, which he would make public if she did not heed to him, police officials said.

Just before the arrest, Arun quickly formatted his gadget and feigned ignorance. He claimed that he had nothing to do with the case since there was nothing on his mobile phone. On the face of it, what was stored on his mobile phone was erased and there was no evidence. It later struck investigators that people like him would have stored the pictures and images not on his mobile phone, but on cloud storage. On rechecking his mobile phone, police found that he had an application named ‘Easy Vault’. This app enabled Arun to hide the images in a storage place. “After opening the app we found hundreds of pictures and videos of several girls,” said a senior police officer.

Arun was booked under provisions of thr Information Technology Act and TN Prohibition of Harassment of Woman Act. Appealing to the public, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. Vikraman said, “People should not trust any stranger who comes on the online space. While interacting with unknown strangers, they should be more vigilant and should not share any personal information or pictures.”

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