Police first learnt of Mahavir when they received a complaint about online stalking of girl students and teachers from a north Delhi school on August 8. “The complainant alleged the stalker was sending the girls lewd WhatsApp messages and making obscene calls to teachers on international phone numbers and from the numbers of students and teachers too,” said Sagar Singh Kalsi, DCP (North). “The school also accused the man of entering online classes and joining WhatsApp groups without the approval of the admin. Several pictures of students, morphed to look nude and semi-nude, were also circulated on social media platforms.”
Based on the complaint, a case was registered under the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the POCSO Act and IT Act. Kalsi said, “Our teams began following the leads provided by the school. We questioned the victims, teachers and parents and identified 33 WhatsApp virtual numbers, five Instagram profiles and several calls using fake caller ID apps. We also analysed IP details of the WhatsApp, Instagram and fake email IDs and were able to zero in on Mahavir from Patna as the stalker.”
Relating how the investigation identified Mahavir, the DCP said that while analysing the mobile numbers, police discovered that one of the numbers was used to contact one of the victims three years back and since then to stalk her. After the suspect was arrested from his residence in Patna, he was interrogated, during which the engineering students confessed to using apps for fake caller IDs and for virtual numbers on WhatsApp to contact the girls and teachers of the Delhi school.
A police officer disclosed, “Mahavir also used a voice-changing app when contacting victims to hide his identity. He used an app to morph nude photos of the victims and upload them on fake Instagram profiles created in their names. Several obscene videos and photographs were also found on Mahavir’s mobile phone.”
The investigators said that no monetary transactions were made and the accused claimed to have done everything for fun. “We checked the social media accounts and found he blackmailed people into revealing their phone numbers, so he could use them. However, there were no monetary transactions.”
An officer privy to the investigation added, “Mahavir claimed that he liked a girl and was infatuated but later started looking for friends on Instagram and creating fake IDs and posting morphed pictures of the girls.”