The case against 22-year-old Shalini Kapoor, charged with duping people on the pretext of sending them abroad, has brought to the fore how more and more women are taking to white-collar crime to make easy money.
The police have received about 20 complaints against Kapoor, who hails from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, since she closed down her office, World Class Enterprises Pvt Ltd, in Phase 9, SAS Nagar, which she was running along with her partners Ranvir Singh and Anita. The three have been booked under sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC and section 24 of the Immigration Act. They are all absconding.
The SAS Nagar police have arrested 33 women in cheating cases this year alone.
"Earlier, women were used as honey traps or mere carriers, but now they are masterminding crimes. The lure of easy money is driving many women to such crimes. Many people are still under the wrong notion that women commit crime only under compulsion. They still view women as victims. Though initially it is men who induce women to commit crimes, but these women gradually learn to operate rackets more professionally than their male counterparts," said advocate Manjit Kaur.
"The urge of leading a lavish and luxurious lifestyle is drawing more and more women into white-collar crime. Women are better strategists and can work out things more meticulously than men when it comes to crime. Recent trends have shown that more women are involved in immigration frauds as people trust them more easily and do not suspect them of committing fraud," said Gagan Aggarwal, another advocate.
"The society is going through change. Materialism and commercialism have taken precedence over human values. It is the lure of easy money for which women are taking to crime. Women are used as honey traps in immigration frauds as they are perceived as more trustworthy," said SAS Nagar SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar.
"The increasing involvement of women in crime clearly shows that crime is no longer a male bastion. The cases registered at police stations show that it is not just a particular section of society which is taking to crime. Women from different strata of society and different age groups are into it," said advocate Rajeev Duggal.
Women arrested in cheating cases
2012 (till date): 33
Cases in point
December 23: Shalini Kapoor, along with two others, booked under sections 420 and 406, IPC and section 24, Immigration Act; 20 complaints pending against her.
December 17: Kulwant Kaur (50), sarpanch of Raipur village in SAS Nagar district, arrested for allowing illegal sand mining on panchayat land and causing revenue losses to the government
September: Neena Sharma, an accused in about 50 cases of immigration fraud, arrested. She was running two immigration consultancy firms, Sai Kirpa Enterprises and Guru Kirpa Enterprises, in SAS Nagar.
July: Jyoti Gupta, alias Dolly Arora, named as accused in about 90 cases, arrested. Police recover gold jewellery worth Rs 82 lakh from her. She was accused of duping people on the pretext of arranging finance for those applying for immigration through Jet Immigrations. Her husband Deepak Arora is still at large.
December 2011: Honey, alias Jyotika, who was used as a honey trap to lure Chandigarh-based cardiologist Dr Deepak Kaura with an aim of extorting money from him through blackmail, arrested. But the plan went awry and ended in Kaura's murder caused by an overdose of sedatives.