Two person were arrested for allegedly duping over 2,500 people to the tune of Rs 1.54 crore between 2015 and 2021 in different cities of Gujarat. They were running a fake “friendship club” in Ahmedabad.
The duo has been booked under IPC 406 for criminal breach of trust, 420 for fraud and sections of the Information Technology Act.
The accused have been identified as Sahdev Jadeja (30), a resident of Jagatpur in Ahmedabad, and Rahul Baria (25), a resident of Jamalpur. They were arrested by a team of Ahmedabad Rural Police’s Cyber Crime Cell on Sunday for allegedly offering victims, mostly young and unemployed men, a fake scheme of relationship with women for money through a club, called “Online Earn Money”, set up in 2015, police said.
“The accused initially gave advertisements in newspapers claiming that a company, ‘Online Earn Money’, is offering vacancies to unemployed youth to join friendship clubs. When the victims contacted them, the accused demanded advance payment under various heads, such as registration fees, and told the victims that as per the club’s services rule, they would be asked to maintain sexual relationships with various Ahmedabad-based women who were willing to pay them in cash or kind. However, after receiving the advance money from the male victims, the accused would switch off their phones,” an official of Ahmedabad Rural Cyber Crime Cell said.
“We had started an investigation after a victim recently lost Rs 43,500 paid as an advance,” he added.
Police have also recovered 11 mobile phones, seven diaries, 19 ATM cards, five Aadhaar cards, seven cheque books and five passbooks from the two accused.
“We have checked their diaries and during a thorough investigation, we have found that they duped 837 persons in 2015-16, 756 persons in 2017, 513 persons in 2018, 135 persons in 2019, 187 persons in 2020 and 97 persons in 2021. Total 2,525 persons have been duped to the tune of Rs 1.54 crore by the accused. We appeal to the citizens to not fall into the traps of these dubious ‘friendship clubs’,” the official said.