An SHO (Station House Officer) and a constable in Rajasthan were suspended on earlier this week in a virtual sex related blackmail incident. The SHO accused the constable of blackmailing him. The men were reportedly in a ‘relationship’.
Nagaur superintendent of police Ram Moorty Joshy says the action was taken because the duo ‘harmed the force’s image and not because they had a homosexual relationship’. However, certain media reports have headlines such as 2 police officers suspended in Rajasthan for being gay .
The station house officer denies any such ‘relationship’.
The SHO was positioned at the Khinsvar police station, where the constable was at Degana police station in Nagaur district of Rajasthan.
The story is basically straightforward. The SHO and the Constable first met via a gay dating site. Preliminary investigation suggests that the two would engage in virtual video/audio calls of an explicit nature. Thus the ‘relationship’ progressed. The constable then launched the real plan: to blackmail the SHO. The classic ‘sugar daddy’ honey trap. Younger man seeks out an older target, lays a trap, and then starts bleeding him.
Cops harassing and blackmailing queer men was quite common when IPC 377 criminalized sodomy, but now, even when the section has been read down, the social stigma remains. A thorough investigation should be in order to ascertain whether this 27 year old cop has been using sites like Grindr to trap and extort money from other older men. It’s the middle aged men with ‘social prestige’ who become soft targets for blackmailers in India.
The incident came to light when the SHO told the Nagaur superintendent of police that he was being blackmailed by the constable.
“Gopal Krishna Choudhary, 57, who was posted as SHO in the Khinvsar police station, met me on Monday and complained that he was being blackmailed by Pradeep Choudhary, 27, a constable posted at the Degana police station, the SP told the media. On the advice of the senior cop, Gopal Krishna lodged an FIR at Khinsvar police station against constable Pradeep Chaudhary stating that he had been blackmailing him to extort money.
“The constable would extort money and blackmail him, threatening to circulate the audio/video on social media. Choudhary had also paid the constable Rs 2.5 lakh. The constable was demanding Rs 5 lakh more and a car, and Choudhary decided to bring the matter to our knowledge. He was depressed over the extortion calls. The constable has been arrested and a case has been registered under Sections including 384 (punishment for extortion), 386 (extortion by putting a person in fear of death or grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act,” said Joshy.
The SHO has been suspended from the services till any further orders, and the constable has been arrested for blackmailing the SHO with videos depicting their relationship.
The SP said that “Since both the officers have put a dent in the image of the Rajasthan police, both have been suspended till further orders and an FIR has been lodged.”
IPC about extortion –
Indian penal code defines offence of extortion as – Whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property or valuable security, or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits “extortion”.
The offence of extortion comes under the purview of offence against property which extends from section 383 to 389 of the Indian Penal Code.
The punishment for extortion is 3 years of imprisonment or fine, or both.
Newsnet Desk with inputs from HARSHIT PAUL and media reports