55-year-old unmarried man gives up life’s savings and mother’s jewellery to blackmailer in 3-year extortion saga; one accused arrested
Amar (name changed), a 55-year-old government school teacher, had to go through blackmail and extortion for three years after he fell into a trap laid for him by his acquaintance. N Hemanth Kumar, a cyber centre owner, started working on the contours of the trap after he came to know that Amar is a homosexual.
Hemanth facilitated an encounter with a male partner for Amar in 2014 with the help of three others. Unknown to Amar, the encounter was filmed.
Since then, he and the others have been extorting money from Amar. So far Amar has had to part with cash and valuables adding up to Rs 31 lakh. He has given all his savings and blank cheque leaves, his ATM cards with the PIN numbers, bought the accused a scooter, sold his mother’s jewellery and did all he could to stop the footage going public.
When the harassment proved too much to bear, Amar approached a senior police officer for help. Seeing the gravity of the issue, the officer put a team of policemen on the job. Hemanth has been arrested and a search is on for the others.
Amar, a resident of Rajajinagar, would go to a cyber centre near his house to get photocopies of documents. He got acquainted with the centre owner Hemanth, 34.
The two talked about their personal lives and Hemanth came to that Amar is a bachelor, a government school teacher, and was living with his elderly mother and two brothers.
“In February 2014, Amar gave Hemanth his phone after there was a technical issue with it. Hemanth came upon gay porn videos on it when he was going through it. He surmised Amar may be interested in having sex with men. When he asked him, the victim sought Hemanth’s help to meet male partners. The accused then checked online for male partners and connected with Arun, another accused,” said an officer, who is part of the probe.
Arun approached Yusuf, the other accused in the case. Yusuf agreed to have a sexual encounter for Rs 10,000 a day. Hemanth is said to have discussed this with the victim. The victim agreed to pay the money and booked a cottage in Madikeri.
“Hemanth knew the victim would have saved up money. So he hatched a plot to trap him. Yusuf was to record his sexual encounter with the victim. At the cottage, Yusuf had fixed cameras and recorded their sexual encounter. He then handed a copy to Hemanth, another to Arun and kept one with himself,” the officer said.
A month after the incident, Hemanth showed the victim the video and started extorting money from him, the officer said.
Whenever Arun and Yusuf wanted money, they would approach Hemanth who would then blackmail the teacher and take money from him.
The trio took cash and valuables worth Rs 31 lakh -- of which Rs 18 lakh was in cash. They also extorted a home theatre system, iPhones and a two-wheeler. Hemanth had also used another of his friends Mani to make phone calls.
“Hemanth was arrested last week by the West division police. A search is on for the other three - Arun, Yusuf and Mani. We have managed to get cheque leaves and an electronic gadget worth Rs 50,000. The remaining money is yet to be recovered. A case of extortion has been registered under Section 384 of the Indian Penal Code,” the officer said.
The police will also visit the cottage where the alleged sexual encounter video was shot.
Praveen Kumar, Bangalore Mirror Bureau
On a Two Yr old crime:
It is a well-known fact that many people who identify with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in India are walking a very fine line – be true to who he/she really is while also maintaining a cautious approach of how that comes across in day to day life. It is unfortunate that such people are held under a microscope with every single action of theirs being analysed and dissected by society, and most recently, for nefarious gains.
A 31-year-old gay man in Mumbai named Rajan was surreptitiously followed into a men’s bathroom by two strangers and coerced into performing oral sex on both of them. The act was recorded. The men then demanded that Rajan take them to a nearby ATM to withdraw his savings of Rs15,000 and if he refused, they would report the sexual encounter to the police.
“They knew I was gay. They were watching me and waiting… Even though society has not fully accepted us, the law was there to protect us. But now we are scared,” Rajan had told reporters.