MP: Pimps, criminals take to WhatsApp to network

  • Kalyan Das and Kashif Hasnain, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: May 16, 2016 16:06 IST
According to the state cyber police, the availability of smartphones to everyone with instant messaging applications like WhatsApp has led to rise in crimes. (Pic for representation)

Criminals are taking to instant messaging application WhatsApp and social networking sites, like Facebook, for running sex rackets and blackmailing people.

Recently, police busted two sex rackets – one in Indore and another in Chhatarpur — which were operating through WhatsApp.

In the Indore case, alleged pimps used to send photographs of the girls to the customers and also communicate through this application only.

The state cyber police are facing tough challenges as more and more criminals are using social media for their purpose. The crimes being committed through WhatsApp in Madhya Pradesh recorded an increase of about 10% in 2015 from 2014. Most of the crimes comprised cases of harassment and vulgarity through instant messaging applications like WhatsApp and Facebook.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau report, 2015, a total of 289 cyber crimes were committed in the year 2014.

‘Instant messaging applications pose a serious challenge to police’

According to the state cyber police, the availability of smartphones to everyone with instant messaging applications like WhatsApp has led to rise in crimes.

“Instant messaging applications like WhatsApp are posing a serious challenge to us as these applications don’t have any servers to store the messages sent and received by the users. It makes difficult for the cyber police to track them”, said additional inspector general of cyber police, Vijay Khatri while talking to HT.

“One of the main difficulties that police face is the fact that the communication through instant messaging applications is based on the mechanism of point-to-point communication, in which messages are sent and received only by users. In addition, another factor that poses a serious challenge to the cyber police is that the WhatsApp messages are broadcast to many users. But the state cyber police has enough tools to nab those who commit crimes through instant messaging applications”, added Khatri.

‘Cases of obscene photo morphing have increased’

And another challenge is harassment through Facebook. However, with the help of their Facebook Quick Response Team, state cyber crime police crack cases by tracking the IP address of the wrongdoers and collect other details from the cellular service providers.

“Recently thecases of obscene photo morphing have increased. Girls develop friendship on Facebook and send their intimate photos to their male friends,” said Khatri.

“Later when their friendships in the virtual world break up, male friends start misusing the pictures. Users must think twice while sending any personal information and photos to their friends,” he added.

Cases of photo morphing

Cyber crime police arrested 21-year-old Sourabh Maskole aka Sagar Thakur, an engineering student of a private college in Bhopal for allegedly posting obscene photos on the victim’s Facebook wall to blackmail her

22-year-old Jeevan Malviy, a resident of Rahul Nagar of Bhopal district, who allegedly used to harass a minor girl by posting morphed obscene photos of that girl

Abdul Karim, 25, a resident of Bhopal’s Shabri Nagar, allegedly harassed a 14-year-old girl with the help of his friend by posting indecent photos on her Facebook wall.

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