Shivamogga cops arrest ex-ABVP leader for circulating obscene videos of him with girl students

The Shivamogga CEN police registered an FIR against Prateek Gowda (21), who was arrested and remanded in judicial custody on Sunday.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Jun 19, 2023 | 8:36 PMUpdatedJun 19, 2023 | 8:38 PM

Representational image of an accused behind bars.

The Shivamogga district police have cautioned members of the general public that circulating obscene photographs or videos on social media platforms, including WhatsApp, was a punishable offence under the IT Act, and conviction in such cases would attract imprisonment of up to five years, besides a cash penalty.

This circular from the Shivamogga CEN (cybercrime, economic offences, and narcotics) police issued came soon after a 21-year-old student leader was arrested on Sunday, 18 June.

His arrest came because he shared videos of him engaging in sexual acts with several girl students in Thirthahalli.

The clips went viral during the weekend in the Shivamogga district of Karnataka.

The accused was identified as Prateek Gowda, a student at Government Degree College and, as it turned out, the former Thirthahalli unit president for the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

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NSUI identifies Prateek Gowda

As the obscene videos of Gowda and the girl students went viral, members of the Thirthahalli taluk unit of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) identified Prateek Gowda in the video and filed a complaint with the district police on Saturday.

NSUI leaders told the police that Gowda lured the girls into joining the ABVP before filming their nude videos. He had also been allegedly blackmailing the girls after recording their videos for further sexual favours.

Superintendent of Police (SP) GK Mithun Kumar told South First that a video of one person involved in sexual acts with a few girls in Thirthahalli was being circulated, which had gone viral in the area.

“Soon after we received the information, we registered a case and secured the person. He was produced before a magistrate who remanded him to judicial custody,” Kumar said.

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ABVP's complaint to the Deputy Superintendent of Police

ABVP’s complaint to the Deputy Superintendent of Police. (Supplied)

Soon after the news of his arrest spread in Thirthahalli, the ABVP’s local district unit leaders also filed a complaint with the office of the Deputy Superintendent of Police against Prateek Gowda and demanded action against him.

He harassed many people by misusing the name of the organisation, they stated in their complaint.

“Prateek Gowda was the Thirthahalli unit president until January 2023, when he was relieved of all responsibilities from the organisation. He is not at all associated with the ABVP or its activities anymore,” Divisional Organisation Secretary Vijay G told South First.

The Shivamogga district police on Sunday informed the public through their circular that the police are keeping a watch out for any obscene videos and photographs on social media, especially on WhatsApp.

“Anyone in possession of such videos, even in the gallery of their phone, could be booked by the police under Section 67(E) of the Information Technology Act,” said the cops.

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