Indian man held for marrying 27 women to con them out of money
An Indian man named Bibhu Prakash Swain, believed to be “biggest imposters," was arrested by the Odisha police.
Swain confessed at the initial interrogations after his arrest to marry 14 high-income women — weeks before his next two weddings.
He was found to have married at least 27 women in 10 states across India, all to con the unsuspecting women out of their money.
The Indian police tracked down Swain months later and found that he also defrauded 13 banks and stole Rs10 million ($135,000) using 128 fake credit cards and cheated people by promising false seats in MBBS seats for their children.
According to a media report, Swain also ran a chain of medical labs where doctors and other staff went for months without pay, the paper said.
Swain targeted women through matrimonial sites like Jeevansathi.com, Shaadi.com and Bharatmatrimony.com, posing as a government official, professor or doctor amongst other socially respected professions. He approached women above 40 who were divorced, struggling with family issues or looking to escape societal pressures through marriage.
Angry and cheated
Police launched a probe into Swain's multiple lives in May 2021 after a complaint by one 48-year-old wife who, by chance, discovered that he was already married to at least seven other women.
The victim, feeling angry and cheated, police say, "quietly retrieved" the contact details of his other wives from his phone and contacted them individually about their shared predicament.
"This is when we came in and made discoveries about his long history of cheating, impersonation and deceit," senior police official Sanjiv Satpathy said.
Upon the merit of the mastermind behind an elaborate far-stretched con scheme, Sanjiv Satpathy, assistant commissioner of police, said, “We are not even sure if he has passed the matriculation exam. But we knew that he had preyed on unsuspecting women looking for security and love.”
Swain chose his victims through matrimonial sites. To date, he had married 27 women but according to police reports, his phone history tells that he was in talks with around 70-75 more women, hoping to tie the knot with them in the coming years.
Posing as professor Bidhu Prakash Swain, his matrimonial profile viewed him as a 51-year-old working as deputy director-general of health education and training with an annual income of INR 5-7 million. The women, Swain targeted were often above the ages of 40, struggling to deal with societal pressure, were divorced, or had issues within the family.
In the last three and a half years, Swain had destroyed the lives of many well-educated women — ranging from an assistant commandant of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police to a chartered accountant from Chhatisgarh, teachers of a New Delhi-based school, a doctor in Tezpur in Assam, two advocates of the Supreme Court and the Delhi high court, a government employee from Indore to an officer of the Kerala Administrative Service.
Police reports also stated that the contacts of several women were found saved as “wife one,” “wife doctor,” “wife Bhilai,” “wife teacher,” “wife Guwahati,” “wife Bangalore,” “to be wife Dhenkanal” and “to be wife Jagatsinghpur” in his phone. “His motive was to marry for money,” said deputy commissioner of police, Umashankar Dash.
Upon interrogating his many wives, it was revealed that not only did he take dowry during or before the marriage but also manipulate them into giving him money while he disappeared on his frequent “hospital inspections.”
“After marriage, he would call up his wives, saying he is stuck at an airport as his ticket has been cancelled or he needed money for a sudden illness. He would take money, promising to return it the next day, which of course he never did,” said a police officer. Swain would make money from his wives either by taking gold jewellery or cash from them.
But alas, it wasn't just his wives that he conned. Swain ran several other scams from diagnostic centres to an alleged organ trafficking business. However, the police believe that it isn’t a “one-man play.”
It was surely not a one-man show and he parked his loot with his wife and different people over the years. From his chat transcripts and other evidence, we have found out that he was in touch with 70-75 other women whom he could have married over the next few years,” said a senior police officer.
Swain, born in a small village in the eastern state of Odisha, first married in 1978 and has three children — two of them doctors and one a dentist — with his first wife.
Trained as a lab technician, he fell out with his family and moved to the state capital Bhubaneshwar where he started introducing himself as a doctor and ultimately married a doctor, his second wife, in 2002.
"He has since used multiple names but always introduced himself as doctor or a professor while looking for wives online," Satpathy said.
The police doubt his ruses were a one-man job and are looking for people who helped him with his elaborate setups and moved his money from one place to another.