Nearly 350 ‘male escorts’ cheated by gang in Mumbai

Times of India | 2 months ago | 28-11-2022 | 04:34 am

Nearly 350 ‘male escorts’ cheated by gang in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Close to 350 men from the city and its outskirts have been cheated by a gang and yet just one of them has come forward to lodge a complaint. The reason? They are allegedly male escorts and were duped while trying to ply their trade. The modus operandi of the gang (two members of which have been arrested) was simple and apparently foolproof. Foolproof because by targeting male escorts, they knew no one would file a complaint unless the escort were willing to inflict self-incrimination upon himself. Gang thought duping escorts was safe, yet one complained A gang found a simple and apparently foolproof modus operandi to dupe prospective male escorts from the city and its outskirts. It was foolproof because the gang was sure no one would come forward to complain. Now the simple (though creative) part: The gang would lure men to become members of "friendship groups" by paying them; it would tell them that all they would need to do was visit hotel rooms to be with women clients; just as a member of one such friendship group would reach his designated hotel, he would be asked to buy a gift by making an online payment to impress his client; after making the payment, the man would enter the hotel and go to the room, only to find it either empty or occupied (and if occupied, certainly not by a woman waiting for him to charm her out of her senses). The racket came to light after one of the victims mustered the courage to inform the police. He told cops that a gang approached him on WhatsApp where they offered him membership for three groups: Geeta Friendship Club, Rushi Friendship Club and Neeta Spa Friendship Club. He said he was asked to pay a registration fee of Rs 1,500 plus Rs 1,500 more for two months' service. Last week, the complainant was asked to go to a three-star hotel. He was asked to buy a "gift" (a body massage kit) by paying Rs 6,500 online. He was told that once he made the payment the club would provide him with the promised kit at the hotel room. To assure him, he was told that he should send his "live picture" once he was outside the hotel (as an identifier). The complainant was also asked to deposit Rs 11,000 as security before entering the hotel. He was told he would get the security deposit back. "The complainant was told by the gang that if he became a club member, he would be sent for massage services to women in various hotels, who will pay Rs 30,000-40,000. He was also told that he would have to pay the club 20% of the amount," said an officer. In all, the complainant paid almost Rs 20,000 before realising that he had been duped. "Based on his complaint, police, with technical help, went on the money trail and tracked down the beneficiary's bank account. The account holder was identified as Abhishek Singh. We arrested him. During the course of interrogation, Abhishek spilled the beans on his accomplices: Sujit Anil Singh, Chhotu Singh and Kiran Singh. We raided Chhotu's house and arrested him while the others are at large," said an officer. During investigation, police found many similar transactions on Abhishek's bank account. Police froze the account, which had Rs 7.27 lakh. They also seized seven mobile phones with seven SIM cards from the accused. Police are now looking for the other accused in the case, to which IPC sections for cheating and forgery have been applied.

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