For months, a 40-year-old ‘Ayurvedic’ doctor duped several women of lakhs of rupees, after promising to help them conceive. He finally ran out of luck yesterday, when the Malad police caught up with him and arrested him on cheating charges.
According to the Malad police, the man’s victims are all women based in Malad (West), who approached the police claiming that the accused, identified as Harbhajan Singh, was a self-proclaimed Ayurvedic doctor, who had convinced them that they had conceived after taking his medicines.
Asha Nalawade, a nurse working for a private hospital and one of the complainants, said that that she approached Singh because her daughter had not conceived after two years of marriage. She came to know of the ‘doctor’ from one of her neighbours, who had approached him for treatment after failing to conceive even eight years into her marriage.
The accused then ‘prescribed’ a dose of medicines to the couple. With each successive dose, his fees rose. “For two weeks’ worth of medication, they had to pay Rs 1.2 lakh. The, couple, however, soon informed me that they were expecting a child,” said Nalawade. Nalawade said that once news of this miraculous conception spread, several other women paid lakhs to be treated by the accused.
They, too, informed her that they had conceived. “After hearing of these success stories, I took my daughter and son-in-law to him, and asked for medicines. With each dose, the fees kept increasing. When the fees crossed reached R60,000, I suspected foul play and told the doctor to stop medicating my daughter and her husband. By this time, my daughter and son-in-law were both complaining of poor health,” said Nalawade.
Soon enough, Nalawade’s suspicions were confirmed. She received calls from the doctor’s other clients, who told her that they had all later realised they were not pregnant. When the doctor was contacted, he said that the women had possibly miscarried. “We did not believe Singh. We suspected that the doctor had given them medication to disrupt their monthly cycles,” said Nalawade.
She and the five other women who had been duped then went to the police station and registered an FIR. On Monday, Nalawade and the other women received a tip-off that the doctor was on his way to Vasai to give medicines to another of his victims.
They informed the Malad police, who laid a trap and arrested Singh for cheating and impersonation. “We have learnt that Singh cheated many women in the city. There are several cases against him in Bandra, Khar and other police stations across Mumbai,” said a police officer from Malad police station.