A 26-year-old man was arrested on Friday, September 24, by the Greater Chennai Police cybercrime wing for extorting money and gold from college students and married women using Facebook and WhatsApp. Lokesh, from Thirumullaivoyal, would befriend female college students or married women on Facebook, and would attempt to gain their trust over WhatsApp, the police said in a social media post. He would then use the chats to blackmail them. A student registered a complaint against him after he pretended to be in love with her and extorted Rs 17,000 and 13.5 sovereigns of gold. He had threatened to share their WhatsApp chats with her parents.
A team from the cyber wing arrested Lokesh at his home, says the GCP post on Facebook. They also reportedly seized 72.2 sovereigns of gold, two cellphones and a Yamaha bike. Lokesh is said to have used multiple fake accounts to extort other women in Chennai and in Coimbatore, Dindigul and Kanyakumari districts as well as women in Malaysia and Puducherry.
According to a report in the Times of India, Lokesh is a college dropout and a YouTuber. He has been extorting money from women since January, the report says. The police have told TOI that Lokesh would develop relationships with the women he befriended using false Facebook accounts, extract information about their private lives over WhatsApp chats, take screenshots of these and then threaten to share the screenshots with the parents or relatives.
Additionally, the report adds that Lokesh was remanded to judicial custody on Saturday and the police are working to find out if he was part of a gang or working alone.