Facebook founder stalked by Indian-origin fan

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 12:05

London: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he feared for his safety after an obsessed Indian-origin fan stalked him on his own social networking site and tried to contact him, a media report said.

Pradeep Manukonda, 31, bombarded the internet billionaire with online messages, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

Manukonda allegedly flooded Zuckerberg, 26, with emails and even sent him flowers and a hand-written note.

Zuckerberg has now obtained a restraining order banning Manukonda from going within 300 yards (about 280 metres) of him, his sister Randi Zuckerberg and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan.

Zuckerberg filed legal papers claiming the stalker had tried to "follow, surveil and contact Zuckerberg using language threatening his personal safety", gossip website TMZ claimed.

Manukonda is said to have tried to visit Zuckerberg at Facebook offices in Palo Alto, California, to ask for money for his family.

According to the legal documents, Facebook security also caught Manudoka at Zuckerberg`s modest four-bedroom home in Palo Alto Jan 24.

According to the report, police gave Manukonda a verbal warning but Zuckerberg claims he has continued to contact him through email and with a hand-written letter dated Jan 28.

The hand-written note reads: "Thank you for your valuable time and attention towards my problem.

"I am indeed very grateful to you. If I get a chance to work with you in the near future it would be my honour. I know I am working with a man of values. Thank you for being a source of inspiration to all of us."

In one of his Facebook messages to Zuckerberg, Manukonda writes: "I owe my entire life at your service. Please help me, then I am ready to die for you. Please understand my pain."

In letters and messages on Facebook to Zuckerberg and his
sister, Manukonda said his family is going through financial
hardship and he was looking to them for help.

In one such letter, Manukonda said his mother is
suffering from a serious illness with little time to live.

He said he is not asking for "charity or donations" and
promised Zuckerberg he would "repay the entire amount incurred
for her treatment".

In another message, Manukonda, who also goes by the name
Pradeep Kumar said, "I am completely tired and exhausted.
Please Mark time is really running out for me. I really need
your help. Please respond in time before it get too late for
us".

Manukonda also wrote to Zuckerberg`s sister, who is
Facebook`s director of market development.

His message to her read, "Dear Randi please respond,
before its get too late. I am sorry to bother you, which is
not at all concern to you, every second is precious to me.

Please understand the urgency and do the needful thing. I
really need your help. My dear sister thanks (sic)".

Manukonda reportedly apologised for his behaviour saying,
"I`m a peaceful guy. I`m sorry he (Zuckerberg) thought I was
trying to harm him," Manukonda told celebrity news website
TMZ.

"I understand he`s a busy man. I`ll respect his privacy".
He said he had been dealing with "a major personal
problem" and thought Zuckerberg could give him some advice.

Manukonda had also gone to Zuckerberg`s home in late
January and reportedly showed up at his office in Palo Alto,
the website said.

Manukonda has been asked to stay at least 300 yards away from Zuckerberg by a judge, pending a hearing later this month.

A court hearing on the stalking allegations is set for
February 22.

While Manukonda has not been arrested, if charged with
stalking, he could face up to one year in jail and or 1,000
dollars in fine.

(PTI & IANS)



First Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 - 12:05

comments powered by Disqus