Man running 'friendship club' would speak in a feminine voice to lure customers into depositing vast sums in bank accounts and then terminate the 'friendship'
For all its considerable delights for some, friendship clubs advertised in newspapers do have a distinctly dubious side. For instance, how can you verify whether the girl uttering sweet nothings in your ear over the phone is really a girl?
Sleuths investigating one such friendship club were left dumbfounded when they found that the women they were on the trail of was actually a man who spoke like a woman, albeit with the help of mobile phone applications.
After officers of the crime branch in December last year had busted 'Cool club India', a friendship club, which duped several people of money, including a police officer and a former BMC commissioner, three people were arrested for running the racket.
Interrogation of the culprits revealed that the friendship club was part of a larger network in what could be a possible multi-crore scam. During further inquiry, cops also found out that the money was deposited in the account of one Sanjeev Chaturvedi (35). Policemen started keeping a watch on him.
Fearing arrest, he applied for anticipatory bail. Sensing something amiss, police arrested Chaturvedi three days back. According to the cops, Chaturvedi was instrumental in maintaining the accounts of the racket.
In his possession they found a few China-made mobiles with 15 to 20 SIM cards. What was revealed next left was indeed astonishing. "The mobile phones owned by Chaturvedi contained a special software that converted his voice into a woman's voice.
There are options in the phone where one can speak in the voice of a woman, child, and an elderly person. Chaturvedi used the phone to speak to male customers from the friendship club," said a crime branch
officer, on condition of anonymity.
Join the club
After calling the number advertised, customers were greeted by a woman who spoke to them in a sensuous manner. To continue the conversation further, customers were asked to deposit money.
"Chaturvedi (in the voice of a woman) would ask the customers to pay a security deposit ranging from Rs 10,000 to 50,000 which was promised to be returned later. After the amount was deposited in the account, the calls would stop," said the officer.
The modus operandi
Sanjay Sharma, a Delhi-based model and an aspiring actor along with his accomplice Ninad Murudkar had started the friendship club promising customers three categories of women housewives, college students and models to converse with.
The so-called female friends would chat with the callers and enquire about their financial status. The conversations then became increasingly intimate and personal. Soon personal details were exchanged. After the callers deposited money in the bank accounts, the calls stopped.