Karnataka BJP MLA fears ‘sextortion’ attempt, files police complaint

Senior Karnataka BJP MLA GH Thippareddy, 72, Monday filed a police complaint over a possible attempt by unknown persons to trap him in a sex video.

The MLA from the Chitradurga region of central Karnataka stated in his complaint to the cybercrime police that on October 31, he received a Whatsapp video call in which an unknown woman appeared naked.

According to the complaint, Thippareddy subsequently received obscene videos on his mobile phone through WhatsApp from the same number. The video showed Thippareddy’s face in the WhatsApp video screen, it said. The Chitradurga cybercrime police registered a case under Section 67 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, for electronic transmission of sexually explicit material.

Thippareddy has been aspiring for a post in the Karnataka cabinet since 2019 when the BJP government came into power. He was a vocal supporter of the head pontiff of the powerful Muruga Mutt in Chitradurga, who was arrested in September for alleged sexual assault of students at a hostel run by the Mutt.

Karnataka has been reporting several cases of online blackmail and “sextortion” by organised gangs in recent years with some leading to suicides.

In March 2021, an MBA student died by suicide after a Rajasthan gan targeted the student in a “sextortion” attempt.

The Karnataka Police criminal investigation department (CID) cybercrime cell in March 2021 busted a gang which targeted a 54-year-old businessman from the Nelamangala region of rural Bengaluru.

The businessman made several payments to the gang to stop the blackmail but turned to the police when it became relentless in its demand for more money to prevent the leaking of an alleged video on social media.

The CID cyber crime unit probe in 2021 led the police to four people from the Bharatpur region of Rajasthan allegedly operating a full-fledged online extortion racket using fake online and offline identities. The CID probe and analysis by the Cyber Crime Coordination Centre found common links in around 4,000 “sextortion” cases in the country.

“Sextortion” is a crime when someone blackmails others threatening to distribute private and sensitive material.

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