A 40-year-old IT engineer of a reputed BPO was booked by the police on Thursday for allegedly creating a fake email ID and Facebook profile of former Miss India (2009) Ekta Chowdhary, a resident of DLF City in Gurgaon.
The accused, identified as Manish Verma, allegedly contacted 562 people from the fashion industry and had taken several favours from them by posing as Chowdhary’s astrologer since December 2010, when he had created the fake ID.
A case of cyber crime, under various sections of the IT Act, was registered on the findings of a probe conducted by the cyber crime cell of the Gurgaon police.
Rita Chowdhary, mother of the complainant, told HT, “My daughter was shocked to know that someone has created a fake ID and was interacting with her fashion designer friends. He contacted them with her reference and went for parties at a few fashion week events.”
Verma allegedly introduced himself as an astrologer and claimed he had predicted Chowdhary’s win in the Miss India contest.
The fraud came to light when designer Abdul Halder met Chowdhary at a fashion show in Mumbai and told her that he had met Verma and given him passes for the Wills Fashion Week. Verma had allegedly even chatted with Halder from Chowdhary’s fake Facebook ID for almost three months.
Chowdhary, however, claimed she did not know any Manish Verma and had never chatted with Halder on Facebook. In November last year, the model filed a complaint with the Gurgaon police commissioner.
The cyber crime cell team traced the IP address to Verma’s house in Sector 56. When questioned, the accused confessed and said it was just a prank.
“Verma, along with his wife and two children, came to apologise but he did not give any reason why he had created the fake ID. I made sure he deleted Ekta’s contacts from his friends list and posted an apology on Facebook. The account was deleted in January,” said Rita.
She added that she suspects someone else is also involved in the case and Verma was trying to shield the real culprit.
Cyber crime cell in-charge, inspector Suresh Kumar, said, “Verma’s computer will be taken into custody.” Raids are on to arrest the accused.