Shweta v. State of Madhya Pradesh

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Bail application in a case of blackmailing for private photos/videos and asking for ransom

     Shweta v. State of Madhya Pradesh
In the High Court of Madhya Pradesh
M.Cr.C. 24410, 16340, 27145/2021
Before Justice Subodh Abhyankar
Decided on July 1, 2021

Relevancy of the case: Bail application in a case of blackmailing for private photos/videos and asking for ransom

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 66E, 67, 67A)
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 120B, 419, 420, 384, 506, 385, 354C, 370(1)(3), 389(b), 467, 468, 471, 34)
  • The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (Section 27)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The complainant is a Superintending Engineer in the Indore Municipal Corporation.
  • The accused woman had initially contacted him for some help. Subsequently, they started chatting on WhatsApp. Further, they started sharing kisses and intimate pictures and videos.
  • They entered into an intimate relationship, and the accused slowly took him in her confidence.
  • Using recorded videos, the accused woman and others started blackmailing the complainant and asked for a ransom of ₹3 crores. They eventually settled for ₹2 crores.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates

  • The petitioner’s counsel argued that they falsely implicated the accused in the case, mentioning her name only in the memo as per Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. There is no evidence to connect her to the crime. Furthermore, the judge of the Trial Court asked for the electronic documents to be submitted, but they were not submitted.
  • The counsel further submitted that many witnesses are to be examined. The accused persons are suffering from various illnesses in jail.
  • The respondent’s counsel submitted that this is a blackmailing case, and thus, the court should not grant bail. The counsel further stated that considering the facts of the case and the gravity of the offence, the court should not grant bail to the petitioners.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The role of electronic evidence is important in the present offence as this case relies on WhatsApp chats, telephonic conversations, and video clips.
  • The complainant is a high-ranking official. With the high office comes higher standards of morality, integrity, and upright character.
  • The petition was allowed due to the COVID-19 situation and other medical issues.

Final Decision

  • The bench accepted the bail application with conditions.

Marc Pereira, an undergraduate student at Rizvi Law College, Mumbai, prepared this case summary during his internship with The Cyber Blog India in January/February 2022.