Fake TV channel owner arrested in Haridwar for duping 21 women

New Delhi: A 32-year-old man has been arrested for duping women by posing as the owner of a media house and cheating women online matrimonial websites from Haridwar on Saturday. Police said the accused had lured as many as 21 women through different matrimonial sites.

According to the police, the accused has been identified as Abhishek Vashist, who was carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head for the arrest.

“During the investigation, it came to light that the accused used to cheat people by making glass IDs on various matrimonial sites including that of Jeevansathi.com, Shaadi.com, Bharatmatrimony.com and divorce community with different names,” PS Kushwah, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) was quoted as saying in media reports.

The accused presented himself as the owner of a company by the name “Akshaya Deep Media House’ and presented himself as an affluent businessman to woo women from well-to-do families, the officer said.

A case was filed at the Barakhamba Road police station against the accused by a Delhi-based family for cheating them. A city court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against him in the case, the officer added.

According to police, the accused claimed to have worked as a reporter in various reputed news channels. In 2012, he posed as an astrologer (Acharya Atul Ji Maharaj) and appeared on Sadhana Media Channel on programmes.

After the channel got to know about his activities, they discontinued his programmes. Later, the channel issued an advisory also available on YouTube that said Acharya Atul Ji Maharaj is a fraud person and the channel also received several complaints against the accused, the DCP said.

In 2016, he was arrested in a cheating case at a police station in Chandigarh when he tried to cheat a businessman in a bogus land deal.

Later, he started cheating people by creating fake profiles on several matrimonial sites and presented himself as a wealthy unmarried person, owning a BMW car, a house in Gurgaon with an annual income of Rs. 20-25 lakhs, the officer said.

In 2018, he came in contact with a girl from a Delhi-based family to whom he introduced himself as a media professional.

He told the woman’ family that his parents were no more and had no relatives. Trusting his version, the victim got married to him in March. The accused stayed with her for two weeks and later ran away with all the jewellery and cash which the couple had received as gifts, the police officer said.

Subsequently, a case was filed at the Barakhamba Road police station against the accused by the victim. A city court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against him in the case, the officer added.

Later, the accused shifted his base from Delhi-NCR to Haridwar where he presented himself as an owner of a news channel. To cheat more people, he began interviewing prospective reporters for his channel and was in advance stage of negotiation with some persons for giving franchise of his news channel, he said.

He also began promoting his channel on Facebook and Twitter. The logo of his channel was also apparently similar to the logo of Star New channel. This logo was also displayed by him on several documents.

Police said further investigation into the matter is underway.

(With inputs from PTI)