A man and a woman, who allegedly used a fake account on a dating app to dupe “hundreds” of young men of Rs 500-1,000, have been arrested after a month-long hunt, police said on Sunday.
Since the duo did not demand more than Rs 1,000 from any of their victims, there were no police complaints for nearly 10 months, said Chinmoy Biswal, deputy commissioner of police (south-east).
“The victims feared social stigma if they approached the police with a complaint. The loss of a relatively small amount such as Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 further dissuaded the victims from filing complaints,” said Biswal.
Police identified the male suspect as Chiranjeevi, a 29-year-old unemployed man and refused to reveal the identity of his 19-year-old woman friend.
The DCP said Chiranjeevi was paying the woman a daily salary of Rs 600 for trapping prospective victims.
The duo was allegedly using e-wallets to seek the money from the victims. The e-wallets were linked to a bank account that was opened using fake documents, said the officer. Five mobile phones and 11 SIM cards have been recovered from the suspects.
The crime came to light last month when a woman approached Amar Colony police station to allege that her photo was being used as the profile picture of a dating app without her permission.
“The woman had been alerted about the misuse by someone known to her. She had contacted the account owner and requested that the photo be pulled down, but Chiranjeevi had refused and dared her,” said the DCP.
The police registered a case and looked for all possible links to the account that could lead to the suspects. It was the mobile phone number mentioned on the dating app account that provided the breakthrough. Chiranjeevi was arrested last week and he led the police to his woman friend.
It allegedly turned out that Chiranjeevi had befriended the woman suspect in outer Delhi’s Rohini last year. “Since he needed a woman’s voice to make alluring calls to potential targets, he offered the woman a daily salary for making the calls,” said an investigator.
The dating app was allegedly being used to send friend requests to men, some of them were also offered companionship of women at their home. The woman was being used to sweet-talk with the men and extract small amounts of money on some pretext or the other.