One man and five women were arrested on Wednesday for their involvement in a fake friendship racket that promised gullible callers seeking a massage and “complete satisfaction” the opportunity to meet women in exchange for up to Rs 29,000.
DCP (Crime) Anil Shukla said the racket, which operated out of a rented office in Karol Bagh in central Delhi, prompted more than 1,000 people to deposit money into bank accounts registered under fake phone numbers and addresses.
Sushil Kumar Bhamri, 42, and his five female employees took out advertisements promising “good friendship and massage opportunities” in leading Hindi daily papers in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, police said.
A respondent would call a number for the “friendship club” listed in the advertisement and would be encouraged to deposit Rs 4,000 in exchange for the number of a woman from an affluent family. Upon depositing this initial sum, the respondent would receive the number for a woman who, according to the police, would “act coy and lead on the caller,” promising to meet him in person if he could provide a “code number.” The respondent would call the club for the code number, only to be told that he needed to pay an additional Rs 25,000. After this amount was paid, however, the woman would no longer pick up the respondent’s phone calls.
The bank accounts used in the scam, believed to have begun nine months ago, were registered under fake phone numbers and addresses, making it impossible for the respondent to track down the racketeers.
Bhamri, who Shukla identified as the leader of the racket, has been involved in more than half a dozen prior criminal cases in Delhi. With the earnings from the fake friendship racket, Bhamri paid his female employees a salary of Rs. 4,000 plus a commission for each client who fell for the scam. During the course of an ongoing investigation, police have discovered four different bank accounts traced to the racketeers in which more than Rs. 40 lakh has been deposited since January 1.