By: Pune Pulse
October 31, 2023
Pune: A 27-year-old woman from Uttarakhand and her 25-year-old friend from Delhi, who were previously event managers, were apprehended by the city crime branch on Sunday. This arrest was made in connection with a series of dating app scams that took place in Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad over the past year and a half.
The individuals, identified as Kavita (also known as Pooja Bhat) from Uttarakhand and Nitesh Navin Singh from Mira Road, a suburb of Mumbai, were tracked down through an extensive technical investigation. This investigation involved tracing their cell phone tower locations and the UPI transactions they coerced their victims into making.
Chandan Nagar police informed Bhat and Singh were presented before the court of judicial magistrate First Class C P Shelke, who granted an order for their custody until November 2. Patil further stated that the duo’s involvement has been confirmed in two separate cases. One case was filed with the Chandan Nagar police, in which they assaulted and robbed a realtor of Rs 1.15 lakh on October 25.
As per information, the duo had befriended the victim through a dating app and convinced him to meet at a hotel. The second case was registered with the Sinhagad Road police on Sunday, as mentioned by Patil. According to the Sinhagad Road police, on September 21, a tax consultant was enticed by the duo through a dating app and coerced into visiting a hotel in Narhe. The victim was then forced to pay Rs 12,000 and demanded to pay Rs 5 lakh. When the victim refused, he was physically assaulted and compelled to make a UPI transfer of Rs 50,000. Additionally, his gold ring worth Rs 28,000 was stolen.
Police informed that Bhat and Singh had committed similar crimes in Wakad and Hinjewadi, which are under the jurisdiction of the Pimpri Chinchwad police, as well as in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The police have seized various items from them, including 12 key room cards from hotels in Pune and other states, two driver’s licenses under different names, an Aadhaar card, two cellphones, a PAN card, a debit card, a gold bracelet, and garments. These items have a total value of Rs 2.36 lakh.
As per the information provided, Bhat and Singh became friends three years ago while pursuing careers in event management. Subsequently, they began luring victims through dating apps and robbing them. Later, it was crucial to interrogate Bhat and Singh in custody to determine the number of victims they had deceived in Maharashtra and other states. The victims targeted in these dating app scams, documented since 2019, were mainly widows, widowers, divorcees, single parents, and bachelors.
These individuals were trapped in romantic relationships or friendships with the fraudsters, who acquired their personal information online. To prevent such scams, individuals should refrain from sharing personal information online and insist on meeting their virtual friends in person to verify their credentials.