On February 13th, Odisha police detained Bibhu Prakash Swain, a 66-year-old Indian man suspected of being one of "Odisha's largest imposters." He was found to have married at least 27 women in ten states across India, all with the purpose of defrauding naïve ladies.
Photo via Mashable India
Swain was pursued by the authorities for eight months until his arrest, according to the Hindustan Times. In addition to the marriages, he is accused of defrauding 13 banks of INR10 million through fake credit cards, as well as defrauding individuals in Hyderabad of INR20 million by falsely promising to secure MBBS seats for their children.
Prior to his arrest, the 66-year-old didn't appear to be the feared conman that police had assumed he was. He was a short man with a potbellied stomach, "He didn't appear to be anything like we had anticipated him to be. We have no way of knowing if he passed the matriculation exam."
“But we knew he preyed on vulnerable women yearning for love and stability," the assistant commissioner of police told the publication.
Swain pretended to be a government official, professor, or doctor among other socially respected occupations on matrimonial sites such as Jeevansathi.com, Shaadi.com, and Bharatmatrimony.com.
He targeted women over 40 who were divorced, had family problems, or were searching for a way to escape cultural expectations through marriage.
Swain took "full advantage of the women's weakness and created a complex trap," according to Bhubaneswar's deputy commissioner of police. "Though we don't know how much money he got from the victims, preliminary estimates suggest he got somewhere between INR10,000 and INR200,000 from each."
“His motivation was to marry for financial gain,” he continued.
Photo via Getty Images
The conman would make money from the ladies he married during or after the wedding by stealing their gold jewelry or cash. Families would occasionally take out loans to provide their new son-in-law with the funds he expected as a result of their marriage.
Police discovered contacts for his many spouses on his phone, including "wife one," "wife doctor," and "wife teacher."
He married women from well-to-do families who were successful in their jobs. He married a cop, a certified accountant, teachers, and even attorneys.
His native village's stepmother and brother said they were oblivious of the big swindle he'd been performing. Swain married a girl from a nearby hamlet in 1979, and the pair produced two sons and a daughter, according to his mother.
Swain remarried a doctor from another town when the marriage fell apart. Swain, who had previously worked as a laboratory assistant to a doctor, began impersonating as a doctor to treat people in the village and surrounding areas, according to his brother. He left the community in 1990 to work in other places.
Swain was apprehended when one of his wives filed a police report. In Bhubaneswar, Odisha, he was remanded in judicial custody.
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat