Wednesday, January 11, 2017

YouTube ‘kissing prankster’ case: FIR filed, social media accounts being scanned

The Delhi Police on Monday registered a case in connection with the widely shared YouTube video that showed a man kissing unsuspecting women in public in what he called was a prank.



Sumit Verma uploaded many videos on his YouTube channel ‘The Crazy Sumit’ including one showing him kissing unsuspecting women in public. (Photo credit: YouTube)

The move came after the police sought legal expertise to understand under what sections a case can be registered as none of the women in the video have lodged a complaint.


Delhi Police spokesperson, Dependra Pathak, confirmed that an FIR under sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the Indian Penal Code and 67 of IT Act (punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) was registered against accused Sumit Verma.


A senior police officer said that the decision to register an FIR came after social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, where the video was uploaded, during their communications with the Delhi Police said that they can share data only after legal action is initiated into the matter.


“Now than an FIR has been registered, it will be easy for the investigating officer (IO) to approach the service providers, including YouTube and Facebook, to identify the source through which the video was uploaded,” said the officer.


Verma, who appeared to be in his 20s, uploaded the video on his YouTube channel ‘The Crazy Sumit’, calling it the “Funniest Indian YouTube prank of 2017”. In the clip, Verma was seen leaning in and kissing a woman in Connaught Place after pretending to ask her a question. He later says sorry and runs away even as the woman tries to chase him. In another clip, Verma kisses a woman and makes an obscene gesture at her male friend when he tries to catch hold of him.


Investigators will be scanning Verma’s Facebook profile to gain details on his whereabouts and will also be writing to Facebook to share the log details of his profile. Police is also hoping that women, who were seen in the video, will come forward and lodge a complaint, said the officer.


The video drew criticism on social media platforms. Other videos by Verma, which were promptly deleted after the police reacted to the incident, included titles such as ‘Seducing girl prank on dad’, ‘Peeing on people prank’, ‘Seducing girl in washroom prank’ and ‘Sex with girlfriend prank on mom’.


Soon after the news of the police’s probe broke, Verma removed all his videos and posted a new clip, apologising for his actions.


Even though an FIR hadn’t been registered earlier, technical aspects of the video were being looked into.


Police started the initial technical inquiry that included looking into the technical aspects such as collecting details from service providers and examining criminal liability.