Bengaluru has apparently become a happening place, for criminals. A honeytrap, an attention diversion by conmen to rob, a college admission racket - it's all happening in the 'Silicon Valley of India'.
Often in the news for the past one year for crimes against women and school children, India's 'IT capital', which attracts hordes of aspiring young men and women from different parts of the country for education and lucrative jobs, showed its underbelly last week in three distinct manifestations.
Model-turned actress honetraps man, blackmails, extorts money
Harshitha, a 24-year-old model-turned Kannada actor, used a successful trick on a man when she befriended him on 18 July and invited him to the house of Sunil, one of her three accomplices. Harshitha took the unsuspecting man to Sunil's bedroom and seduced him. She got the act recorded so that the quartet could blackmail him.
"The entire act was captured on camera without the victim's knowledge. Harshitha and her associates later showed the victim the video clipping and threatened him with dire consequences if he did not pay them money," Deccan Herald quoted the Bangalore police as saying.
The video camera was apparently hidden in the ceiling fan of the bedroom.
The hapless man, trapped as he was, yielded to their first demand when he paid Rs 50,000. Soon, the demand become bigger, resulting in another payment of Rs 1 lakh, which the victim had to borrow from a friend.
Harshitha and her accomplices also made him issue a cheque for Rs 4.5 lakh. Not just that, he also had to part with his car and gadgets, all in exchange of getting the video clip.
But their ever-increasing demand forced Vinod Kumar to complain to the police, leading to the arrest of Harshitha, Sunil, Brijesh and Lokesh. Harshitha is a resident of Yeshwantpura and a native of Hassan.
This is the fifth such incident reported during the past 14 months in the city.
In June 2014, Kannada actor Nayana Krishna and her accomplices were arrested for laying a honeytrap and blackmailing a doctor. She was reportedly in the habit of "befriending doctors and blackmailing them after video recording their sexual act with one of the gang members."
Similar incidents were reported in February 2015, September 2014 and November 2014.
A tried and tested tactic to con gullibe people, attention diversion was put to good effect by two criminals to rob a contractor of Rs 3 lakh on Saturday.
The incident took place at Doddanekundi when the contractor, Rohit, was returning in his car after withdrawing the amount from a bank branch in Whitefield to pay his workers. Two motorcyle-borne men, who were trailing him, signalled at Rohit's driver and told him that the tyre of the car had punctured.
When both Rohit and his driver stepped out of the car, the two conmen diverted their attention by saying they had seen a few Rs 10 notes in a nearby drain. When Rohit and his driver leaned to look at it, the duo stole Rohit's briefcase containing and fled, says The Hindu.
"We suspect that the culprits might have been following them from the bank branch," a Bengaluru police officer said.
Ambedkar Medical College, PRO and his relative held in medical seat scam
The Central Crime Branch (CCB) personnel arrested the public relations officer (PRO) of Dr BR Ambedkar Medical College and his relative for allegedly cheating a farmer from Mandya with the promise of getting a medical seat for his daughter. The farmer, Hemaraju, had given the duo Rs 10 lakh.
The CCB police arrested A Amanulla, 52, from RT Nagar and his relative Abdul Rahman, 59, from Jayamahal on Saturday.
The police have also booked the chairman of Ambedkar Medical college, MK Kempa Siddaiah, and his son Shiva Kumar, for cheating many candidates seeking admission to the medical college.
The four have also been accused of taking Rs 58 lakh from one Siddarth, who too was an aspirant for a seat in the medical college.
The city is also in the news for a kidney racket, with the police suspecting the involvement of the State-Level Authorisation Committee for Organ Transplanting, which ironically, was put in place to check illegal renal transplants.
"We are trying to find evidence that the members of the committee who approved these cases, had the knowledge of the crime," said Chandragupta, Superintendent of Police, Ramangaram.