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Karnataka: Gang arrested for morphing pictures of women in coastal districts to sexually assault, extort them

Arjun alias Arun Laxman Gowda, along with his gang, has been arrested for exploiting and assaulting young women in Karnataka's coastal districts. They manipulated photos to blackmail and assault victims. The arrest followed a confrontation in Malali village, Sirsi taluk, where they attacked police. Family members, including Arjun's mother and relative, were complicit. 

Karnataka: Gang arrested for morphing pictures of women in coastal districts to sexually assault, extort them vkp
First Published May 27, 2024, 11:36 AM IST

Local authorities have successfully apprehended a notorious gang led by 27-year-old Arjun alias Arun Laxman Gowda, who is accused of exploiting and assaulting several young women in the coastal districts of Karnataka. Known for befriending women, the gang would morph their photographs into compromising images to blackmail and sexually assault their victims.

The arrest came after a tense confrontation in Malali village, Sirsi taluk, where the accused and his accomplices, including family members, attacked the police with stones and tiles, resulting in injuries to three officers. The incident underlines the brazen nature of the gang's operations, which extended across multiple districts including Udupi and Uttara Kannada.

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Arjun Gowda, the primary suspect, engaged young women through social networks, gradually winning their trust through regular chats and video calls. As relationships developed, he would invite them for outings, during which private photos were taken. These images were later edited to create obscene versions, which were used as leverage for repeated assaults and extortion.

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Complicity within Gowda's family was stark, with his mother, Nagaveni Laxman Gowda, and his relative, Balachandra Gowda, actively participating in the crimes. Both were involved in the violent incident during the arrest attempt. While Arjun and Balachandra were apprehended, despite initial resistance and a dramatic escape attempt by Balachandra who later consumed rat poison and was hospitalized, Nagaveni is currently evading capture.

Legal proceedings against the gang are robust, with multiple cases filed under the IT Act and charges of rape and fraud at various police stations including Banavasi, Sirsi, and Kundapur. The latest charges were registered at the Sirsi Rural Police Station, led by PSI Pratapa Pachappagola, who is committed to thorough investigations to ensure stringent actions against all involved.

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