The Hyderabad police on Saturday arrested a man who impersonated an Army Major to dupe 17 women to the tune of Rs 6.61 crore on the pretext of marriage. Police said that the man, identified as Mudavath Srinu Naik, created a fake persona and was running an organised racket by converting a rented room in Hyderabad as an 'Army office'. Srinu used to operate under the name M Srinivas Chowhan and had decked up the room to convince the prospective bride and her family members about his credentials during video conferences. After developing a close relationship with the woman and her family, he would demand money on the pretext of some urgent requirement, said the officials.
According to the police, he had been having a free run for six years, during which he cheated 17 women. He was finally caught on Saturday by the Jawaharnagar police while trying to dupe another woman. The police investigations revealed that Srinu had used the money to buy a duplex house in Hyderabad and three cars, including a Mercedes Benz.
Hailing from Prakasam district's Kilampalli village in Andhra Pradesh, Srinu had studied only up to Class 9. He made a fake certificate, showing that he did Master of Technology or MTech in environmental engineering from a university in Meghalaya.
In 2002, he married a woman who was working as superintendent in the office of district medical and health officer in Guntur. They have a son and the family lives at Vinukonda in Guntur district.
In 2014, Srinu came to Hyderabad and settled in Sainikpuri, Jawaharnagar. He informed his wife that he has got a job at an Army office and took Rs 67 lakh from her saying he required the money for some emergency works.
Srinu obtained a fake Aadhaar card in the name of MS Chauhan, claiming to be an Army officer. He opened social media accounts with his photos in Army uniform.
Posing as a bachelor looking for a bride, the accused started targeting families looking for an Army man as the bridegroom and contacted them through matrimony websites. He used to send his biodata claiming to be a trainee from the National Defence Academy, Pune.
The investigations also revealed that Srinu used to wear Army uniform while talking online to the prospective brides and their family members. He used to impress them by saying he does not want any dowry. After developing some relations with the families, he started demanding money on the pretext of some urgent requirement.
His victims include an official working in Telangana Secretariat who was looking for a match for his daughter, a medical student. He took Rs 56 lakh from him. The accused also duped another family of Warangal to the tune of Rs 2 crore. Police have booked a case for cheating and Section 419 for cheating by impersonation, section 468 for cheating and Section 471 for using forged documents of the Indian Penal Code.
He told another prospective bride that he passed out from Gorakhpur IIT. The girl inquired with the institute and found the claim to be false. He, however, somehow managed to convince her and took Rs 76 lakh from her.
He was finally caught on Saturday when he was going in a car to dupe another family.
A case of cheating was registered at Jawaharnagar police station. A case was also booked at the Subedari police station in Warangal district.
Police seized a dummy pistol with three pellets, three pairs of Army uniform, Army cap, Army badges, fake Army ID card, two photos taken in Army dress, fake Masters Degree certificate and other documents. The police also recovered four cell phones, one Mahindra Thar Jeep, one Fortuner car and one Mercedes Benz car from him.