Four held for robbery after befriending on social networking app for LGBT
Four members of a gang in Gurugram, India have been arrested for allegedly blackmailing at least 24 men they befriended on a social networking app for the LGBTQ+ community. The gang recorded objectionable videos of the victims and extorted money from them. The suspects were arrested in Delhi and have been identified as Keshav Kumar, Mohammad Hussain, Ravi Verma, and Pradeep. The gang targeted victims in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, and Ghaziabad.
Gurugram Police on Saturday arrested four members of a gang, who allegedly blackmailed at least 24 men after befriending them on a social networking app for gay, bisexual and transgender people. The accused recorded their objectionable videos and extorted money from them, said police.
Police added that the suspects were arrested from Delhi late on Friday night by the team of crime unit. All the suspects were produced in a city court and were taken in two-day police remand.
The suspects have been identified as Keshav Kumar alias Kesu alias Kritvik (25), Mohammad Hussain alias Appu (21), Ravi Verma (22), and Pradeep alias Deepu (23), all residents of Prahladpur in Delhi, said police.
Sandeep Kumar, in-charge of DLF Phase 4 crime unit, said that Keshav Kumar was the kingpin of the gang. “Kumar is BBA graduate, and other members of the group are only metric pass. He used to create accounts on the Grindr app and send messages to victims,” he said.
Kumar said a complaint was filed by a man, who was duped of ₹95,000 and a mobile phone, at sector 29 police station on September 4. “The victim had got in touch with Keshav through Grinder and decided to meet. As per the plan, Keshav had drinks and dinner with the victim and left in a cab with his driver from Sector 29 market. After a few minutes, he asked his associate, who posed as cab driver, to stop the car and got down. Meanwhile other two members entered the car as per the plan and assaulted the victim,” he said.
Police said the victim was assaulted and robbed of his mobile phone and wallet. “The suspects forced the victim to reveal his ATM pin and withdrew ₹95,000 from a nearby ATM kiosk. While leaving they spotted a police PCR and to escape they rammed the cab into police barricades. The victim was found injured and without clothes,” said Kumar.
Varun Dahiya, assistant commissioner of police (crime), said that the victim approached the police on September 4 and after his medical examination was conducted, a case was registered under sections 394 (Person voluntarily causing hurt in committing or attempting to commit robbery), 392 (robbery) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code at Sector 29 police station.
Dahiya said the suspects had earlier committed a similar crime in Delhi in April and failed to commit another last month.
“They were successful on September 3 and were planning another one on Sunday but were arrested before they could commit it,” he said.
Inspector Kumar said as per the plan the suspects created fake profiles on the app and befriended the victims. After chatting and talking for a few days, they asked them to meet in some restaurants or market area close to isolated stretches. One of the suspects take the victim to a cab or car and gave a signal to his aides, who recorded them in a compromising position and later barged into the car. They took the victims at gunpoint and threatened to upload pictures on social networking sites. They also threatened to send the videos to their family, friends and relatives,” he said.
Police said the gang members were active for the last one year and had robbed at least two dozen men.
“We have written to Grindr to get more details of the suspects and their accounts. The gang mostly targeted people in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, and Ghaziabad,” Kumar said.