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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Woman who blackmailed, extorted from bizmen held in Gurugram

She was the kingpin of a gang that would honey trap men, shoot objectionable videos and threaten to implicate them in fake cases of sexual assault.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 29, 2019 03:32 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
The police said the woman often visited five-star hotels, clubs and discotheques and targeted businessmen.
The police said the woman often visited five-star hotels, clubs and discotheques and targeted businessmen. (Shutterstock)
         

The police arrested a 28-year-old woman on Thursday from Sushant Lok in Gurugram and busted a gang with at least three more members who allegedly targeted businessmen and threatened to implicate them in false cases of sexual assault if they did not pay the gang lakhs of rupees, the police said.

The woman was identified by her first name as Bhavna, a resident of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, who had been living in a rented apartment in Kailash Hills in Delhi for the last three years.

The police said the woman often visited five-star hotels, clubs and discotheques and targeted businessmen. She would pose as a makeup artist, pretend that she owned a chain of studious in the posh localities of Delhi such as South Extension, Greater Kailash, Hauz Khas, Defence Colony, Vasant Kunj, and exchange cellphone numbers with them.

The police said the woman was the kingpin of the gang, which would “trap” businessmen in Gurugram, Delhi and other NCR areas. The gang would use different techniques to extort their victims and had been doing so for the past three years, the police said.

Muhammad Akil, commissioner of police, said the gang had extorted more than ₹2 crore from several men, including the most recent victim—a 30-year-old businessman from whom they extorted nearly ₹1 lakh. They had originally demanded ₹35 lakh from him, but ran out of luck when the kingpin was arrested. “We received a complaint from the businessman on June 23 and formed a team headed by the assistant commissioner of police (ACP), which laid a trap. Within two days, enough evidence was collected and the woman was caught red-handed, receiving the money in a hotel in Aerocity, Delhi, on Thursday.”

THE MODUS OPERANDI

Bhavna told the police that she would often read about people, especially women, managing to extort money from rich men after threatening to implicate them in cases of sexual assault. She then started visiting five-star hotels, fashion shows, clubs, pubs, and party places where she introduced herself to men as an entrepreneur who owned a chain of makeup studios and talked of fashion shows organised by her in association with leading designers. She also invited the men to attend some of these shows where she pretended to be handling the set up backstage.

“Once Bhavna was confident that the victims trusted her, she would invite them for coffee, lunch and dinner to different places. She would impress them by organising parties for them,” said Akil.

According to the police, after gaining the men’s trust, which often took almost a year, the woman would invite them to her rented apartment for drinks, “honey trap” them and make “objectionable videos” to extort them. She would message them on WhatsApp and demand several lakh rupees by blackmailing them with clips of their intimate moments, the police said.

“Bhavna would allegedly threaten the men that she would file cases of sexual assault against them. The men would pay her what she demanded out of fear of their identities being exposed and no one would approach the police,” said Akil.

HOW THE TRAP WAS LAID

According to the police, a 30-year-old businessman met Bhavna in a five-star hotel in Delhi two years ago and exchanged mobile phone numbers with her. Bhavna started sending him messages on WhatsApp, Snapchat and SMS and they met several times. Since the beginning of June this year, Bhavna kept insisting that he meet her, but due to his hectic schedule, he was unable to.

On June 22, Bhavna insisted he meet her again, following which he asked her to come to his apartment after midnight. After spending almost two hours with him, around 4.30am, she left.

“She soon sent him a message demanding ₹35 lakh. He initially thought it was a prank and ignored it. She then sent him several messages and started threatening to file a case of sexual assault against him,” said Akil.

Meanwhile, the man tried to convince her that he did not have so much cash and could not afford to pay her, but she persisted. On June 23, Bhavna messaged the man and asked him to meet her at a hotel in Aerocity, but kept changing locations and finally met him near a Gurudwara in Moti Bagh.

The police said they negotiated for almost half an hour, agreed upon a sum of ₹12 lakh, and he gave her ₹75,000 upfront.

The man approached the police the same evening and told them everything.

Karan Goel, assistant commissioner of police (DLF), said they laid a trap and asked the man to negotiate again and to record all their telephonic conversations. They told him to ask her to meet him so she could be arrested red-handed.

On June 25, the man called the woman and agreed to pay her ₹2 lakh more in Sushant Lok, and asked her to meet him on Thursday. “As soon as the woman took the money, a police team caught her and recovered it from her possession,” said Goel, adding that the notes had been marked.

“She confessed during questioning. We have recovered a list of victims from her mobile phone. We will start calling up the other victims to find out how she extorted money from them and how much they paid her,” said Goel.

A case under sections 384 (extortion) and 389 (putting person in fear or accusation of offence, in order to commit extortion) of the Indian Penal Code was registered at the Sushant Lok police station.

The information provided by Bhavna during questioning suggested that at least 60 men may have been targeted and the amount of money extorted could run into several crores, Goel added.

First Published: Jun 29, 2019 03:32 IST

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