Befriending a ‘girl’ on Facebook, a seemingly innocuous activity which most youngsters indulge in, cost an 18-year-old from Borivli his life. For, who he thought was a girl, was actually a man from Panvel, Raju Sonune, 23, who had created a profile in the name of ‘Priyanka Shah’, so he could extort money from those who fell into the trap.
Sonune sent a friend request to Abhishek Rasam, a student of Nalanda College, using the fake profile on Facebook, and lured him into talking dirty online. He also coaxed Rasam to upload obscene pictures and videos on the social networking website. After a few days, Sonune started demanding money from Rasam. When he refused, Sonune threatened to make public the private conversation.
Realising that Rasam couldn’t be budged, Sonune called him up, posing as Shah’s brother, and demanded Rs8,000 within 48 hours, as compensation for harassing his sister. He also threatened to register an FIR and show the chats to his family, Rasam’s sister Ankita said in the FIR, a copy of which is with HT.
Rasam did not discuss it with his family, but asked for money from his relative. On February 13, Rasam and his relative spoke to Sonune, who they knew as Priyanka’s brother, but the issue could not be settled. When Rasam did not return home on February 13, the next day, his family registered a missing person’s complaint. “The police did not do much,” Ankita alleged.
The family then looked up the railway police website — www. shodh.gov.in — and learned the Dadar railway police have found a body with similar features on the railway tracks on February 13. The body was identified on March 4.
In search of the trigger that drove Rasam to commit suicide, the family went through his mobile phone records and realised there was one phone number which Rasam called frequently. “We then informed the police about the number, after which Sonune was questioned. His revelations were shocking,” Ankita said.
The police said Sonune is physically challenged and works as a singer in a dance bar and sings in both male and female voices, said Ankita.
The police on Tuesday sent a team to arrest Sonune. They have seized his laptop used in the crime. “We have booked him under various sections of the IPC and IT Act,” said inspector Sudhir Mali.