The director of a retail ethnic wear chain and the scion of a family that runs a chain hotels - both of them Kolkata based - have been arrested by the crime branch of the police for allegedly blackmailing 187 women using sexually explicit pictures and videos.
Aditya Agarwal, whose family runs 'Prapti chain' of ethnic wear, and Anish Loharuka, whose family owns 'O2' hotels, were arrested on Tuesday.
The police have also arrested a cook, in his early 30s, for allegedly helping the two run the extortion racket. The cook, identified as Kailash Yadav, police said, made calls to the women demanding money after sharing pictures of them in sexually explicit poses with one or the other of the two accused.
One of the victims of the extortion racket, who first reported the matter to the police in November last year, said she had received on WhatsApp intimate photos of her with her ex-boyfriend Aditya Agarwal, which were clicked six years ago. The accused had demanded Rs 10 lakh, she said.
After the police found out that the number used to blackmail the woman had a "virtual sim number", which is difficult to trace, they were alerted to the possibility that the case was not a one off.
The woman, the presence of the police, called Agarwal and asked if he had shared their intimate photos with anyone. He denied having done so.
But the police have now reconstructed that Aditya immediately alerted Anish about the woman going to the police. Anish sent the cook away but the police traced his phone and found he went to Deogarh in Jharkhand.
In Deogarh, the police searched the cook's home and found a hard disk that he had hidden. The disc contained 187 folders on women, labelled Adiya's girlfriend or Anish's girlfriend.
That's when the police suggested that the woman lodge a formal police complaint. The woman was a minor when she was in relationship with Aditya and is now married and initially did not want a formal police probe. But after the racket was unearthed, she filed a police complaint.
The details of the modus operandi of the two men: they would get into relationships, promise marriage and take intimate videos and photos of their girlfriends- sometimes with their consent but mostly without consent.