A 54-year-old man in India was arrested Monday for allegedly duping 14 women into marrying him, a police officer said.

The accused, identified as Bibhu Swain, reportedly cheated the women off thousands of dollars.

Swain, who belonged to the eastern state of Odisha, posed as a doctor or a high-ranking government official while targeting women through matrimonial websites, the Hindustan Times reported. He would marry them and flee with their money, Bhubaneswar deputy commissioner of police, Dr Umashankar Dash, reportedly said.

Dash said, until the time of arrest, Swain had married and defrauded 14 women, including a high-ranking officer in the Indo Tibetan Border Police and a lawyer in Delhi High Court.

“His only intention was to get money and acquire properties of the women after marrying them. He would reach out to women from states like Punjab, Jharkhand and Delhi through several matrimonial websites. The women he targeted, wanted emotional security as they either married late or were divorced and Swain took full advantage. Most of the victims are highly educated and hold key posts in various government and private sector organizations,” Dash was quoted as saying.

“His targets were highly-educated and worked in senior positions at various government and private organizations. He had his eyes on their money,” Dash told India Today.

The police said Swain had been conning women since 2002.

A complaint had been filed against Swain by a school teacher from Delhi in July 2021 after she found out about his other marriages. He had married the teacher in 2018.

On the basis of the complaint, the police arrested Swain from a rented house in Khandagiri area of Bhubaneswar and booked him under Sections 498 (A) (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 419 (punishment for cheating by personation), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of the Indian Penal Code.

When the police searched his house, they found 11 ATM cards, 4 Aadhaar cards – a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained by the citizens of India – bearing different names and a school certificate with another name. Swain, now a father of five, married his first wife in 1982. He married a second time in 2002, the police said.

During the investigation, it also came to light that Swain was arrested in 2011 by a special task force in Hyderabad for allegedly duping several MBBS aspirants. Posing as deputy director general of central health education and training, Swain had duped several job aspirants in different parts of the country.

“We are planning to conduct a detailed financial investigation in the fraud. We will seek longer remand of the accused for a detailed probe. We know that many of Swain’s victims would not come forward to lodge a complaint due to loss of social prestige, but we urge all of them to speak up,” Dash said.

Representational Image. pixabay