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IIT Kharagpur student spoofed IDs, faked profiles, morphed nudes to harass Delhi minors, arrested

The accused, Mahavir Kumar, stalked and blackmailed 50 students and teachers of a prominent school in Delhi. He was arrested from his Patna residence after a 2-month probe.

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New Delhi: The Delhi Police Thursday arrested a 19-year-old student of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur for alleged online stalking and harassment of dozens of students and teachers of a prominent school in the national capital.

The accused, Mahavir Kumar, stalked and blackmailed 50 minors and adults — students and teachers of the school — and circulated their morphed nude photographs on social media, the police said.

He allegedly preyed on the friends of his targets too.

According to police sources, his modus operandi included spoofing phone numbers to call and text his victims, and creating fake profiles on Instagram. He would also join the school’s WhatsApp groups and online classes to harass his victims.

Kumar was arrested Thursday from his Patna residence after a two-month long investigation into the case. Obscene photos and videos were recovered from his phone.

The action came on a complaint registered in August this year in the Civil Lines police station in Delhi.

“The complainant, the school’s manager, alleged that an online stalker is cyber stalking minor girls of the school and also sending WhatsApp messages and calling teachers of the school,” Deputy Police Commissioner (North), Sagar Singh Kalsi, told ThePrint.

A case was registered and sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Information Technology (IT) Act were included.

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Modus operandi

According to sources, the police questioned the victims and their parents and probed 33 WhatsApp numbers, five Instagram accounts and several phone numbers. Details of IP logs of WhatsApp, Instagram and fake email IDs were analysed.

Sources said the engineering student used high-tech apps and fake caller IDs to contact his victims.

He had come in contact with one of the students of the school three years earlier, and started contacting her and her friends via Instagram and other social media platforms.

“He is extremely tech-savvy and his vast knowledge of online apps enabled him to spoof phone numbers. He called victims from international numbers and sent messages from their own numbers — by creating various virtual numbers. He also called the teachers from these spoofed phone numbers,” a senior police officer said.

Kumar also allegedly used voice-changing apps to contact the victims and created morphed nude photographs and uploaded them on fake Instagram profiles.

“Several obscene videos and photographs were also found in the mobile phone of the accused,” the officer said.

Police said the accused Mahavir would also join the online classes and WhatsApp groups of the school without admin approval. “He blackmailed his victims to provide the links to the online classes,” the officer said.

DCP Kalsi said technical investigation also revealed that Kumar had used one of the numbers to “contact one of the victims” three years ago and has since been harassing her. “We are probing if he did the same to students and teachers of other schools and colleges. Investigation is on,” he said.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)

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