A 30-year-old man, who was posing as Bollywood singer Armaan Malik and extorted lakhs from several women by blackmailing them with their obscene photos, has been arrested by the Coimbatore Rural Police on Wednesday (May 29).
The accused, identified as Mahendra Varman, a native of Ulundurpet in Villupuram District, had befriended several women on social media using a fake Facebook account by the singer's name. He managed to gain the trust of some women and had asked them to send their nude pictures to him via Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. He then threatened the women that he would share their nude pictures on social media if they fail to give him money in exchange. Reportedly, he had extorted lakhs of rupees from at least 15 women from various parts of Tamil Nadu and Coimbatore. The accused had been cheating women for almost a year and is fluent in languages like English, Hindi and Tamil.
"The accused created a fake Facebook profile of Armaan Malik by downloading the singer's pictures from his original Facebook and Twitter accounts. He sent friend requests to several women which many of them accepted. The accused gained the trust of some of them and made them share their nude pictures via Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. He later used those pictures to blackmail them," an officer from the District Crime Branch (DCB) of the rural police was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
The DCB official further added, "The actual number of women cheated by the accused and the money he had defrauded from them are yet to be found out. He had received money through net banking and money transfer apps. A mobile phone and a tablet seized from the accused have been handed over to the court."
The police managed to nab the accuse by laying a trap wherein they asked one of the complainants to asking him to come to Coimbatore to collect the money which he had demanded from her. He was arrested while talking with the woman, the police said.
After reading the news, singer Armaan Malik has expressed his shock over the incident and urged his fans on Twitter in a statement requesting them to not to believe anyone pretending to be him on social media.
"This is absolutely messed up. I am really shocked to learn about this piece of news! People are using advantage of my name and trapping people with heinous acts like these.
WhatsApp and Social Media needs to be made more safe. We live in dangerous times and I strongly urge all my fans and followers not to fall prey to these kind of traps!
I am so relieved to know that the District Crime Branch and local police of Tamil Nadu have succeeded in catching this impersonator."