Four men have been arrested by the Gautam Buddh Nagar police for their alleged involvement in planting hidden cameras at a hotel linked to OYO Rooms to blackmail couples, police said, adding that the accused also ran illegal call centres.
Police identified the accused as Vishnu Singh, Abdul Wahav, Pankaj Kumar and Anurag Kumar, and said they had busted three different gangs in Noida with their arrest.
According to police, Vishnu and Abdul were involved in secretly recording couples in different rooms of the hotel, and later blackmailing them for money by threatening to make the videos public. If the couples failed to cough up the money, they would also threaten them with violence, police said.
A SIM card and bank account used for the extortion was provided to them by Pankaj for Rs 15,000, said police, adding that his partner, Saurabh, is currently absconding. Police said they also provided a SIM card and a bank account to Anurag.
Anurag, police said, had set up illegal call centres to cheat victims on the pretext of selling iPhones at low prices through online marketplaces. Police said Anurag had been doing this for nearly two years, and used to run three ‘call centres’. Police estimate he has cheated people of crores.
ADCP (Central Noida) Saad Miya Khan said, “We received information that a person recently stayed in a room with his female friend and, a few days later, a video of their private moment was sent to him along with demands for money. The accused had booked the same room a few days earlier and had installed the camera. Whenever a couple was seen on the camera, they would profile them and send them their intimate videos on their social media accounts and phones.”
A case has been filed at Noida’s Phase 3 Police Station under IPC sections 420 (cheating) 386 (extortion by fear of death/grievous hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation). Police also seized 11 laptops, seven CPUs, 21 mobiles, 22 ATM cards as well as other electronic paraphernalia from the accused.
OYO Rooms did not respond to attempts seeking a comment.