Chennai: This man, working as a software engineer with a reputed tech company, had opened a fake placement agency at a corner in his office space from where he would cheat gullible women by telling them there were vacancies in some five-star hotels. But to apply for those jobs, they had to send him their pictures and videos in the nude! As many as 600 women from 16 different States bit the bait.
The blackmailer, Clement Raj Cherian alias Pradeep, would threaten the women that he would circulate their naked pictures on social media if they did not cough up any sum that he demanded.
Clement took advantage of his night shifts in the tech office, which gave him the seclusion needed for the sinister, parallel work he did. Police, after arresting him, said Pradeep worked through the nights more on blackmailing his targets than on his legal, mainstream job.
Eventually, a victim in Hyderabad lodged a complaint at the Hyberabad Police Station. Acting on the complaint, the city police launched a probe, the trail of which led them to Chennai. Clement was arrested in Chennai at his house and brought to Hyderabad.
Police said after a preliminary investigation that Clement had been running this sinister business for quite a few months. They have recovered more than 600 images and videos of his women ‘clientele’ in the nude from his Chennai office and home.
Clement has confessed to his crime. He told the police he used to collect the mobile phone numbers of women to call them and trick them into believing their nude images were absolutely necessary forthe selection process. Women from Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and several other states sent him their stills and videos in the buff.
Clement told the police he would introduce himself as the placement manager of some famous five-star hotel on a fictitious website he had created. He would then ask for the mobile number of those who believed in his story. He would then call them up one by one. Thereafter, they would be called for interviews. At this stage, a woman accomplice called Archana Jagdish helped Clement in making the process come across as convincing.
An investigating officer said that, following the interview, Clemebt would send the targeted woman a message via WhatsApp from an unidentified number. This is where he would ask for the woman’s video and stills in the buff. He would say that only such women who had “attractive figures” would make it. Many of his targets believed him.
The sordid affair wouldn’t end there. Clement would then make a video call to the target where he would urge the woman to strip. He would record the woman in the act and save it in a media gallery he had made for the purpose. The gallery was password-protected.
S Ravi Kumar, the Assistant Commissioner of police at the Miyanpur division, said, “The gadgets recovered from Clement have been sent for forensic examination.”