Chennai city police have arrested a 27-year-old man from Tirunelveli for allegedly extorting money from more than 300 people by luring them into sex chats using a feminine voice.
While police confirm that at least 319 people have been cheated by Vallal Rajkumar Regan in Chennai city limits alone, officers are currently digging more data from districts as well as abroad to trace more victims.
Regan has been booked under IPC Sections 384 (punishment for extortion), 506 (i) (criminal intimidation) and the IT Act.
His modus operandi was to advertise sex chats on Locanto, an app that provides free classifieds. Those who responded to the ad were shown screenshots of receipts of police complaints he filed online, and blackmailed into making small digital payments.
The first complaint was filed by a man who lives on the outskirts of Chennai city. He was lured by Regan’s advertisement on February 16, which offered sex chats and services over the phone. Soon after he responded to the ad, he received a call, with the caller, who had a feminine voice, introducing themselves as Priya.
Soon afterwards, the complainant received a message seeking a digital payment of Rs 100. When he made the payment using his digital wallet, he received a nude picture of a woman, and the caller demanded Rs 1500 for a nude video.
When the complainant refused to pay and blocked the female’s number, he started getting threat calls from multiple numbers. He was forced to file a police complaint when he received the receipt of a complaint copy filed against him.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Mylapore) Shekar Deshmukh said Regan used the online complaint system of police to file anonymous complaints against those who refuse to pay him money. “He then shared these screenshots and threatened them with further action,” Deshmukh said.
The officer said Regan would demand amounts ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 3,000 from each victim, but the number of victims in Chennai alone was over 300. “Even if he demanded smaller amounts from victims, he filed hundreds of complaints against them to collect maximum cash,” Deshmukh said.
According to preliminary investigations, Regan filed 319 online complaints. What helped him was a loophole in the police’s online complaint system, which allows anyone to file a complaint without an One-Time Password (OTP) verification. R Sudhakar, Joint Commissioner of Police (East) in Chennai, said Regan used to give wrong mobile numbers in all his online complaints.
Police are now collecting details from other parts of Chennai, across Tamil Nadu and abroad as they have evidence of many more victims.
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