Sham marriage gang busted in Odisha, 4 arrested

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Bhawanipatna (Odisha), Feb 23 (PTI) The Odisha Police busted a gang with the arrest of four persons, including two women, who allegedly duped several men of lakhs of rupees in the name of marriage, an official said on Tuesday.

Kalahandi Superintendent of Police Saravana Vivek said that the gang, which included two persons from Chhattisgarh, used to target divorced men who are rich and elderly.

A woman named Elee Mahanta played the role of the bride while the three other people became her 'parents' and 'uncle' who negotiated with prospective grooms for marriage.

The 'father' of the bride gets some money as the mediator, which the gang members share later.

After the wedding, the bride used to stay with the groom for a few days and then leave giving him a bad name.

Following a complaint filed by a person of Kalahandi district, who has been duped of Rs 4 lakh by the gang, the police started an investigation and arrested its four members, the SP said.

Preliminary investigation revealed that they had cheated at least four men between 2013 and 2020.

'We suspect that the number may rise. Other people, who have been cheated by them, might not have approached us fearing social stigma. We urge them to register a complaint,' the SP said.

Elee, who is 32-year-old and a resident of Sundargarh district of Odisha, has four Aadhaar cards in different names, Vivek said.

Elee's 'mother' Mina Gupta and 'uncle' Sraban Soni hailed from Chhattisgarh, while Birbal Sharma, who used to act as her father, lives in Bolangir district of Odisha.

It is also being investigated how Elee procured several fake Aadhaar cards. PTI COR AAM NN NN