Karnataka: 8 held for bid to ‘blackmail’ BJP MLA with sex tape

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The police found digital records in the form of memory cards and pen drives with videos of private moments of nearly a dozen people.

An investigation into a complaint of extortion and criminal intimidation filed in Bengaluru by a BJP MLA has led to the arrest of eight members of a gang allegedly involved in trapping and filming intimate moments of the legislator with a woman sent to the MLA by the gang.

Investigations carried out by the Crime Branch of Bengaluru police on the basis of the complaint filed by the MLA — who has obtained a restraining order from the Karnataka High Court and a civil court against being identified in the media — has also revealed that the gang targeted at least 12 other prominent persons including politicians and officials.

The police are now investigating whether the MLA and others were targeted in a political conspiracy, police sources said. “There seems to be a political angle but we have been focusing on probing the criminal aspects,” the sources said.

“One person mustered the courage to file a complaint, so one case is registered. There are 12 others who have not come forward,” police sources said.

The alleged entrapment involved legislators across the political spectrum, including some who have switched to the BJP recently, sources said.

Based on the complaint filed on November 23, the police arrested a youth identified as Raghavendra alias Rocky (35), who allegedly ran the blackmail racket using an associate identified as Pushpa, a beautician, and six others.

Police sources said the MLA was trapped and secretly filmed in 2017 — as per the time stamp on the video recording — but the recording was used only recently by the gang in an attempt to extort Rs 10 crore from the legislator.

The modus operandi of the gang involved going in a group as students needing assistance in finding accommodation in Bengaluru and meeting the legislator at his home and letting the MLA develop intimacy over a period of time — through late night phone calls, social media chats — with one of the women, before setting the stage for trapping the legislator in sexual encounters in hotel rooms, police sources said. The recordings were done with spy cameras installed in the handbags and sunglasses of the women and later transferred to Raghavendra.

The MLA alleged that extortion demands were made on November 18 by the gang.

On November 28, the police trapped Raghavendra after finding one of his alleged associates, Rakesh Kumar. Raghavendra was lured into a trap by convincing him that the MLA was willing to meet his demands if he came in person to collect the extortion amount.

Following the arrest of Raghavendra, the police found digital records in the form of memory cards and pen drives with videos of private moments of nearly a dozen people.