KOHIMA: Nagaland’s higher education minister Temjen Imna Along on Friday filed a police complaint against an unidentified miscreant who was trying to blackmail him with a doctored video clip. Along, who is also the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit chief, filed the First Information Report (FIR) hours after putting out a message to his followers on Facebook and Twitter.
“Taking advantage of my social media appearances, in order to defame my reputation, an unknown miscreant has edited my video with an adult video showcasing some vulgar scenes. He/she has also blackmailed me and demanded a lump sum to avoid uploading edited videos on social media platforms,” the minister said in a post uploaded on his social media handles past Thursday midnight.
“I have already lodged a complaint against the number (used to send him WhatsApp messages) with the cyber crime police. I am told such type of offence is called sextortion,” the minister told HT.
“I am appalled at how anyone could think of doing such a thing”.
The minister added that he was being stalked on WhatsApp since June 1 by a person who used the name, Payal, possibly a pseudonym. The person had been sending him messages.
On Thursday evening, he said, numerous videocall alerts came again from the same number when he was with some of his colleagues. When the calls persisted, he said, he answered the video call but the caller’s screen was black and no one was visible except for the (call) receiver’s inset video.
The minister said several minutes later, the caller sent him a distorted video clip containing graphic scenes where his (the minister’s) face was edited, and the caller threatened to release it unless he paid a ransom.
“M apki video YouTube Twitter Facebook Instagram all social media and your Facebook page and social channels pr viral kr rhi hun bolo delete ya viral (I will put out your video on YouTub Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all over social media. You tell me, delete or viral),” said a message from the caller, according to a screenshot seen by HT.
The person did not quote a specific amount but kept on sending text messages to the minister: “Delete ya viral your choice”.
The minister said online crimes were increasing because the cyber world was uncharted territory for many. “The general public, public leaders and particularly young people- all of us have to be aware and be very careful,” the minister said.
This is the first time that the minister is reported to be a victim of an online office. But others have been cheated by people who impersonated him.
In one case, a person impersonating the minister collected nearly ₹20 lakh from individuals including politicians, police officers, church leaders on the pretext that the money was a donation for orphanages and the treatment of orphans with serious illnesses.
The minister said the cyber crime police were tracking down the impersonator.
“I was told he is somewhere in Haryana. That individual has collected a lot of money in my name, maybe Rs.20 lakhs or more,” he said, hopeful that the suspect will be caught soon.
In 2020, a 23-year-old opened a Facebook account using the details and photographs on the minister’s social media accounts and sent friend requests to hundreds of female Facebook users including college students. He was later traced and caught but let go after a “public apology” published in local newspapers.
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