The Gamdevi police arrested a 28-year-old tour guide Tuesday for allegedly hacking into the Instagram account of a South Mumbai-based businesswoman, using it to spread obscene messages and cheating her of Rs 3.5 lakh. The accused, a native of Jodhpur, was held in Delhi, eight days after the police set out in search of him. He was produced in Girgaum court Wednesday evening and remanded in judicial custody.
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The man befriended the 49-year-old businesswoman on Instagram a year-and-a-half ago. The police said the duo would text each other regularly but never met in person. Over the course of their online communication, the accused sought to borrow small sums of money under false pretexts, the police said.
“He claimed to be from a rich family but told the complainant that he needed money for his mother’s treatment,” said an officer at Gamdevi police station. The police said the woman and her husband both sympathised with the man and loaned him a total of Rs 3.5 lakh until the end of 2016.
“The accused promised to return the money and finally sent her a cheque of Rs 2.5 lakh. However, it bounced,” officer said.
The woman then threatened to lodge a police complaint against him. “The accused acquired the password to the woman’s Instagram account and began to post vulgar and obscene messages while impersonating her. When she came to know of it, she lodged a complaint,” the officer said.
The police lodged an FIR in December 2016, booking the tour guide for cheating, criminal intimidation and under the Information Technology Act. “The accused had switched off his cellphone for a long time so it was very hard to track him. He also kept changing locations,” said the officer, adding that 10 days ago, the police received information that the accused would depart from Jodhpur with a party of tourists.
“We followed the accused from Jodhpur to Fatehpur Sikri to Agra and finally to Delhi, where we caught him outside the office of a private tourism firm he had been hired by,” the officer said.
However, advocate Brijesh Avinchal, who represented the accused in Girgaum court on Wednesday, said the woman had misrepresented her age to gain the confidence of the accused, willingly gave him her Instagram account password and framed him after he discovered her true age and threatened to make it public.