New Delhi: He stalked at least 50 women online, morphed their photos and blackmailed them for over a year without getting caught — all for “fun and pleasure”, according to the police who finally arrested the 19-year-old Wednesday.
An Instagram account and photo editing skills were all he needed to carry out his activities, before law caught up with him.
The police said Rahim Khan’s “victims” included minor girls.
He would send the women and minor girls their objectionably morphed images, and then blackmail them into sending him their nude photographs, said the police.
Khan, a carpenter and resident of Haryana’s Faridabad, was “well versed” with the technology required to morph photographs, said a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named.
“The accused knows how to use various applications to morph images. He can operate the apps like a professional,” the officer told ThePrint.
Khan allegedly told the police that he did all this for “fun and pleasure”, and there was no other motive for his crime.
Rahim Khan’s modus operandi
According to the police, Khan operated on Instagram and chose his victims randomly from across the country. He would stalk their social media accounts and would send follow requests if the accounts were private.
“Those whose accounts are open, he would directly take their photos and then morph them into obscene images. For those whose accounts are blocked, he would use a fake identity of a lady and try to befriend them. Once the girl accepts the requests, he would take their photos and then morph them. The accused would then blackmail those girls by sending the morphed images, forcing them to send him their nude photos,” the officer quoted above said.
He allegedly used images from porn websites and editing softwares like Photoshop to morph the women’s photographs.
During the investigation, Khan confessed to harassing more than 50 women, including minor girls.
And he had managed to get away with this for more than a year because most of the women did not report the alleged harassment, said the police.
“We are investigating the other victims he harassed and also trying to trace all the districts and states. He has said that he randomly chose the girls,” the police officer said.
“We are probing how many girls he has blackmailed in his hometown,” he added.
Khan was finally arrested Wednesday after a complaint was filed against him at the RK Puram police station in Delhi.
According to the complainant, a minor, Khan sent her morphed photos on Instagram and demanded nude photographs in exchange.
An FIR was registered against him under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and 67B of the Information Technology Act.
The Delhi Police cyber cell then conducted a technical inquiry into the matter — tracking social media, surveillance among other things — and also sought details from Instagram about the account.
A team was formed, subsequently, and Khan was arrested from his home.
The cyber cell unit also recovered “incriminating evidence” — chats and videos — from the cell phone of the accused. Photos shared by the victims were also found on his phone.