Cyber cell police arrested the duo when a magistrate learnt about someone using the fake profile of lady magistrate to cheat
Sushil Modi (L) and Sanket Chavan (R)
Two con men had devised the perfect strategy to make money by cheating men seeking alliance on matrimonial websites. All went well for these two con men until they created a fake profile of a lady magistrate in the Bandra court.
When the magistrate of the 12th court in Bandra learnt that someone was using a fake profile of a lady magistrate to cheat, the judge immediately directed the police to register an FIR and investigate. The cyber cell of the Mumbai police crime branch arrested two men for allegedly creating a fake profile of a lady magistrate on a matrimonial website with an intention to cheat a software engineer. The police revealed the identity of the accused persons as Sanket Chavan, 23 and Sushil Modi, 67.
Senior police inspector Suvarna Shinde of cyber cell said, “Chavan and Modi have successfully cheated several men seeking alliance on matrimonial websites. Chavan who was adept at mimicking a woman’s voice would talk to the potential victims and make them believe that ‘she’ was interested in the alliance.”
The men would then get urgent requests from the prospective bride to transfer money ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. “Many have paid Rs 5000 to Rs 10000 without filing a complaint due to the relatively small amount. They avoided asking for substantial sums to prevent victims from approaching the police," said a police officer. And nobody did until they created the fake profile of a lady magistrate.
Amit Bhosale, a software engineer from Mumbai had sent a request to a fake profile of the woman on the matrimonial website in the last week of November. “I sent a request on the matrimonial site as I noticed the woman was a magistrate and she accepted my request the next day. We started talking on the phone and I never suspected the person speaking to me was a male as the woman's voice sounded genuine," said Bhosale.
After a day of conversation she asked for Rs 7,000. She claimed she needed it urgently for an online transfer and promised to return it upon her return to Mumbai. “I expressed concern about digital payments due to frauds and suggested sending someone with cash. Upon mentioning fraud, she got angry, sent me purported court orders and threatened me. When I visited the court the next day, I discovered someone else was the judge. I reported the incident to the court staff and the magistrate. The magistrate upon reviewing the chats, instructed the police to file an FIR and investigate," Bhosale said.
The cyber cell of the Mumbai police crime branch lured them with the help of Bhosale to collect the cash and arrested them on December 3. The police said Chavan had met Modi inside the Arthur Road jail after being booked in a cheating case. It was inside the jail they had devised the plan to cheat men by posting fake profiles of women on matrimonial websites. They had teamed up after their release from jail a year ago and created the fake profile using the name of Ashwini Pandit and the image of a woman influencer from Pune.
In order to win the confidence of their victims, Chavan would pose as the brother of the woman and Modi as her uncle and would meet their victims and convey to them the alliance will materialise. The absence of the prospective bride in the meeting who was otherwise active on social media would be justified with lame excuses that she is busy and wants the family members to meet the man first. If their victims were interested they would seek for more funds in the form of urgent help. The police have got in touch with 15-20 men who had been targeted by the duo in the last month.