Bangalore: Mansi, 24, (name changed to protect identity) had just stepped out of the shower, and was drying her hair, when she got a call from an unknown number. “Are you done with your bath?” breathed a male voice dripping with lust. Shocked and disgusted, Mansi hung up the phone and decided enough was enough. Over the course of five months, the biotechnology graduate and UPSC aspirant had reportedly been bombarded with numerous indecent and lewd calls, text, and picture messages from as many as 12 unidentified numbers. Each time, the caller would either propose marriage or threaten to kill her if she didn’t comply.
“Initially, I ignored the calls as random men trying their luck; but after a while, they began getting intense. It seemed the caller knew intricate details of my life: where I lived and went, who I was with and at what time, what I was wearing, even what I ate! It was like a scene from a psychotic thriller film. I had to focus on studying for the UPSC entrance exams in August, which is why I didn’t approach the police sooner. I thought the calls and messages would stop, but I was wrong,” recalled Mansi, speaking to Bangalore Mirror from her Bellandur home.
She soon began receiving revolting and vulgar photographs on WhatsApp. “The situation reached a point where I even broke down on the phone once, asking the caller who he was and why I was being targeted. When I realised the caller had details about me that nobody other than my loved ones had access to, we reached out to a private detective. I suspected there may have been cameras and microphones hidden in my bedroom or other parts of the house, but the detective swept our entire house and said it was clean,” the techie said.
Then came another shocker: the victim was told that there was a possibility of someone accessing all her data and even the web camera on her laptop from a remote location to literally watch her every move. Mansi’s first suspicion was the person who formatted her laptop.
“After my exams in August, there was a slight delay due to unforeseen circumstances, but I finally lodged an FIR in October.
This life-threatening predicament has driven me all but insane. I was unable to clear my UPSC, and am mentally depressed. I am suspicious of everyone, and have trouble believing anyone other than my parents. My family was thinking of looking for a groom for me, but we decided not to take a chance in this mess. I hope the culprit or gang gets nabbed soon, and I can return to a life of normalcy,” Mansi rued.
When contacted, a senior police official from the South East division confirmed the incident and said, “We are going through the call details of the victim’s number. She has provided us with a list of 10-odd numbers, each of which we are checking thoroughly. We suspect her laptop may have been hacked by someone with malicious intent, so we are verifying details of employees in the service centre she visited to get her laptop repaired. Further investigations are on.”