IIT Kharagpur student held for stalking Delhi schoolgirls online

He would enter online classes, join WhatsApp groups: police

A 19-year-old student of Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur has been arrested from Patna for allegedly stalking girls of a school in north Delhi, the police said on Thursday.

A senior police officer said the accused, identified as Mahavir, was a voyeur and stalker. “He has a fetish to stalk girls. His motive was not to extort money but just to threaten girls to get himself added to their social media groups,” the officer said.

On October 6, the Civil Lines police station received a complaint from a school that their female students were being harassed online after which an FIR was registered.

“The complainant said that a person was stalking minor girls of the school online and also sending WhatsApp messages and calling teachers of the school from various international numbers and from numbers of students and teachers,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi said. Mr. Kalsi said the stalker was entering online classes of the school and joining WhatsApp groups without the approval of the admin, and was changing group icons. “Several morphed nude and semi-nude photos of students were being circulated on social media platforms,” he said.

The police questioned the girls and teachers and examined the WhatsApp groups to trace the stalker’s number. They also wrote to WhatsApp and Instagram to get details of the IP address after which a police team tracked the accused, who was residing in Patna’s Khajekalan, and arrested him.

During interrogation, Mr. Kalsi said, it was revealed that Mahavir had been stalking and harassing a minor girl from this north Delhi school for the last three years when he was preparing for the IIT entrance exam in Kota.

“He found the victim’s number on a social media platform and started pursing her. The girl, however, stopped talking to the accused after she realised that his intentions weren’t right. Though he didn’t stalk her directly thereafter, he started making contacts with her friends by posing himself as a girl who was a friend of the main victim,” a police officer said.

After gaining trust of the girls, the accused threatened them that he would morph their pictures and circulate on social media if they didn’t help him get added to common WhatsApp groups and share links of their online classes. “He would then enter these online classes and bad-mouth the girls, including the main victim. That’s when the school approached the police,” the officer said.

Investigations also revealed that Mahavir used applications to fake caller ID and a virtual number on WhatsApp for contacting girls and teachers of the school.

“The accused used a voice changing app to hide his identity. He also used an app to morph photos of victims and uploaded them on fake Instagram profiles created in the names of victims. Several obscene videos and photographs were also found in the mobile phone of the accused,” Mr. Kalsi said.

The police said that his father runs a small torch manufacturing unit and the family has no idea about his online activities.

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