A 35-year-old man will serve three months in jail for sending obscene pictures and videos via email to a woman he met on a social networking site — the state’s first conviction in a cyber-stalking case.
On Friday, additional chief metropolitan magistrate MR Natu convicted Yogesh Prabhu under section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the IPC and section 66 (E) (punishment for violation of privacy) of the Information Technology Act, 2008.
“Prabhu has been sentenced to three months’ simple imprisonment and fined Rs10,000 for the offence under the IT Act and Rs5,000 for intending to insult the modesty of a woman,” said Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police, crime branch.
“The woman initially chatted with him, but she said she started finding his behavior suspicious and stopped responding to his messages,” said public prosecutor Kiran Bhendbhar. She even removed him from her friend’s list.
According to the police sources, their relationship could have turned sour after the woman turned down Prabhu’s proposal to get married. As the woman is a year older than Prabhu, her parents were opposed to the marriage. The woman then stopped communicating with him.
Prabhu, however, continued to keep an eye on her profile and her whereabouts.
The following month, between March 3 and March 9, 2009, the woman got mails from an unknown ID. The mails contained obscene images and videos. She initially ignored them, but when they did not stop, wrote a complaint to the then crime branch chief Rakesh Maria. A case was registered at the Shivaji Park police station on April 9 and the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC) took over the probe.
The Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer was traced to the Vashi firm. A team headed by inspector Mukund Pawar, arrested Prabhu in April 2009. CCIC sub inspector Sachin Puranik said the cyber cell filed a 200-page charge sheet in September 2009, after which the trial began.
Eight witnesses, including the woman, Prabhu’s colleagues, cyber experts and police officials were examined by public prosecutor Bhendbhar. When the court convicted Prabhu, it said the prosecution had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.
“This is the first conviction in a cyber-stalking case in Maharashtra. Convictions in cyber frauds cases have happened earlier, but this is the first in which an accused has been convicted in a cybercrime where a woman was targeted, stalked and harassed with obscene material on the internet,” said Nandkishore More, assistant commissioner of police, cyber division.