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India arrests ‘doctor’ con man who married 18 women

Bibhu Prakash Swain believed in soul mates and true love, or so he told at least 18 women he allegedly married and cheated on across India before his arrest – weeks before his next two weddings.

The little 67-year-old scoured marriage websites while posing as a 51-year-old doctor and persuaded professors, lawyers, medics and a paramilitary officer across the country to tie the knot, police said.

In status-conscious India, he claimed he had a hefty salary and used fake ID cards and letters of appointment to bolster his credentials and family background.

“He was doing this mainly for money and some sexual pleasure,” senior police officer Sanjiv Satpathy told AFP.

Satpathy’s team has arrested Swain in recent days after being on his way for months and discovered his multiple identities, bank accounts and plans for two weddings in February and March.

“He was always very persuasive,” Satpathy said, “targeting only successful single, widowed or divorced women in their late 40s.”

After a few “happy and fulfilling days in the marriage,” police said, Swain always made up excuses to borrow money or jewelry from his new wife to help him with an emergency.

He then moved on to his next target, hoping that the women’s circumstances—as a single, widow, or divorcee remarried in a conservative society—would keep them from going to the police.

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Investigators believe Swain has been married more than 18 times and now searches his cell phone records where he stores his wives’ contacts – such as Madam Delhi, Madam Assam or Madam UP (Uttar Pradesh) – named after the places in India where they stayed. .

Angry and cheated

Police launched an investigation into Swain’s multiple lives in May 2021 following a complaint from a 48-year-old woman who accidentally discovered that he was already married to at least seven other women.

The victim, who felt angry and cheated, police said, “quietly” took the contact details of his other women from his phone and contacted them individually about their shared predicament.

“This is when we came in and made discoveries about its long history of deception, imitation and deceit,” Satpathy said.

Born in a small village in the eastern state of Odisha, Swain first married in 1978 and has three children – two doctors and one a dentist – with his first wife.

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Trained as a laboratory technician, he got into an argument with his family and moved to the state capital of Bhubaneshwar where he started introducing himself as a doctor and eventually married a doctor, his second wife, in 2002.

“Since then, he has used multiple names, but always introduced himself as a doctor or professor while looking for wives online,” Satpathy said.

The police doubt that his schemes were a one-man operation and are looking for people who helped him with his intricate setups and moved his money from one place to another.

The Hindu Times The newspaper described him as “no Don Juan,” said he was only six feet tall, and reported that he married at least 27 women in 10 states.

For the record, he also allegedly defrauded 13 banks of 10 million rupees ($135,000) with 128 counterfeit credit cards, and ran a chain of medical labs where doctors and other staff went unpaid for months, the paper said.

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