Crime & Justice

Conman tricks dozens of women into fake weddings to grab their fortunes

By Indira Guerrero

New Delhi, Mar 9 (EFE).- With at least three different names and a resume that paints him as a wealthy doctor and senior Indian government official in search of love, Ramesh Swain, for years, served the perfect cocktail to scam dozens of women and pay for a life of pleasure and luxury.

A call from New Delhi from an angry wife claiming her husband was about to marry another woman after asking her for more than $10,000 caught the attention of police in the city of Bhubaneswar, in the eastern state of Odisha, in May 2020.

“We began tracking him. Every place we followed him, there was a woman with the same story,” Sanjeev Satpathy, deputy commissioner of the Bhubaneswar police, told EFE after an almost year-long investigation.

On Feb.13, the clues led to a temple gate.

A special police squad surrounded the car, in which Ramesh sat.

The suspect, who had scammed dozens of women and defrauded a dozen banks, was a 60-something man less than 1.60 meters tall with dyed hair and a small mustache, who greeted the officers with a smile.

On marriage websites, Ramesh Swain was also Vijayashree Kumar, Ramesh Chandra, Bidhu Prakash, and Ramani Ranjan Swain, a 52-year-old cardiologist, director of the Indian health ministry, with an annual income of almost $1 million, “never married,” “down-to-earth,” and above all a “risk lover.”

His first wedding took place in 1978.

“He would search for different women above 45, well established and earning a good salary. Then he would send them a text message, and after a few days of chatting and calls, he would tell them that he would visit them, and propose marriage,” the police official said.

His modus operandi was to select divorcees or widows, whom Indian society still views with contempt, making these women more vulnerable.

A photo of him in a white car fitted with a red beacon light that usually indicates a government vehicle, business cards with the government logo, and letters from senior officials were distributed to all as proof that he was on an official mission.

“Initially, his intention was to have sexual pleasure but soon after he would pretend that his bank account got blocked by the government for some reason and begin asking for some money,” Satpathy explained.

According to a school teacher’s allegations, Ramesh disappeared months after the wedding and defrauded her and her family of more than $15,000 in money and jewelry.

“He never stays (with one wife) for too long, nobody has stayed with him for more than one, two or three months,” Satpathy added.

A technical team examined his three phones. The conversations in them led to more than 100 women in an apparently “formal” relationship with the alleged doctor. Only 20 of them have admitted to marriage.

“But it is almost impossible to know the exact number,” said the police official, who underscores the social stigma that these women will face if they publicly admit to having been married to the scammer.

To Rama, Ramesh presented himself as a man with money, power, and alone, searching that pillar of marriage to build a future together.

That a senior official accepted a widow convinced her to say yes to his proposal.

But one day, when she was alone in the apartment they moved to after the wedding, her husband called her and made his first request.

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