Modus operandi of 25-year-old ‘SSLC studied’ trickster was to send friend requests on Facebook and loot cash, jewels
Mysore/Mysuru: A 25-year-old woman, who had cheated many youths to the tune of lakhs of rupees after befriending them on Facebook, has been arrested by Metagalli Police on Mar. 4.
As per a press release from the City Police Commissioner’s Office dated Mar. 16, the accused trickster is Megha alias Harini, wife of Vinod Kumar and a native of Magadi Town in Ramanagara district. She presently resides at Andarahalli in Bengaluru.
Following her arrest, City Police Commissioner Dr. Chandragupta has urged youths not to accept friend requests from strangers and fall prey to criminals.
After creating a profile under the name ‘Chinugowda Chinugowda’ on Facebook with a good looking girl’s photo and a masked identity, she had sent a friend request to one Ravi of Mysuru. Ravi had accepted the request and they both exchanged their phone numbers.
During the course of conversation, she introduced herself as ‘Bindugowda’ and had sent Ravi many photos of some other woman and claimed them as her photos. Ravi easily fell for the trap and was impressed with her profile.
After a few days, she informed Ravi that she had seen him near Vijayanagar Water Tank and expressed her wish to marry him. She also told Ravi that she was the only daughter to her parents and stayed at Vijayanagar 2nd Stage. She claimed that her father owned two petrol bunks and a couple of bars.
Bait of Rs. 45-lakh car
One day, Bindugowda told Ravi that as she was deeply in love with him and wanted to marry him, she wanted to gift him a car worth Rs. 45 lakh for his birthday. Managing to convince Ravi about the expensive gift, Megha told him that she was running short of Rs. 1.5 lakh. She then told Ravi that she would send Shivu — a conduit — to him so that Rs.1.5 lakh could be handed over. Ravi readily agreed and paid the money, said the Police press note.
Seeing success, Megha told Ravi to introduce his mother to her and he did. Speaking to Ravi’s mother over phone, Megha asked her to send some photos of her. After receiving the photos, Megha told Ravi’s mother that the gold chain she was wearing in the photo was beautiful and she wanted to get a similar one made. She later told Ravi’s mother to hand over the chain to her so that she can show it to a goldsmith. Megha told her that she would safely return the chain later.
A daughter-in-law’s trap
Police said that believing Megha, Ravi’s mother handed over the 85-gram gold chain and a silk saree to conduit Shivu. Later, Megha told Ravi that as she would be his family member — daughter-in-law — she wanted to get all the gold jewellery made with the same designs as his mother’s jewellery. She cleverly asked for his mother’s jewellery to show the goldsmith.
An unsuspecting Ravi and his mother gave about 480 grams of gold jewellery to Shivu. As days passed, there were no signs of Megha returning the gold ornaments. Ravi repeatedly called her only to hear excuses from her. Later Megha switched off her phone, Police said.
Realising that they were cheated, Ravi and his mother lodged a complaint with Metagalli Police on Feb. 20 stating that Megha had conned them of gold worth Rs. 20 lakh. Metagalli Police tracked and arrested Megha on Mar. 4. They produced her before a Court and took her custody.
Conduit unaware of criminal intent
During interrogation, the Police learnt that Shivu, the person sent by Megha to fetch cash and gold ornaments from Ravi and his mother, was also her Facebook friend. Shivu had not seen her in person. After getting the gold ornaments, Shivu had handed them over to one Vasanth, an auto driver, who knew Megha and had delivered the jewels and cash to her. She had sold the gold through Vasanth and had received the money from him. But Vasanth had no idea about Megha’s criminal intent, Police said.
A habitual offender, Megha had cheated one Yoganand of Mandya in 2018 and took away Rs. 15 lakh after creating a profile on Facebook in the name of Sanvisirigowda. She had taken the money promising Yoganand a job in the Railways. She was arrested later.
Megha had also created a Facebook profile in the name of Swathigowda alias Kushi and had cheated one Srinivas of Rs. 9.7 lakh. A case was registered at Jnana Bharati Police Station in Bengaluru. She had also cheated a youth and a girl at Magadi. To settle the case, Megha’s parents had paid back the money to the victims. Hence, no complaint was filed.
Megha studied up to 10th standard and used new people as conduits every time she committed a crime. She used to switch off her phone once the crime is completed. Police are now investigating if there are more persons in Megha’s gang.
The arrests were made with the direction of DCP (Law and Order) Dr. A.N. Prakash Gowda and N.R. Sub-Division ACP Shivashankar. Metagalli Inspector A. Mallesh, Sub-Inspectors K. Vishwanath and Nagaraj Naika, ASI S. Mahadev and staff Rajesh, Madhukumar, Shivakumar, Likith, Srishaila Huggi, Roopa, Asha, Uma and Mani were part of the team.