Police arrested a youngster who was allegedly duping people with false assurances of introducing them to rich and fashionable women through his Friendship Club, here on Wednesday.

The arrested person, Shailesh Kumar Singh, who hails from Azamgarh of Uttar Pradesh, was operating from Jadcherla town in neighbouring Mahbubnagar district. Eight mobile phones were seized from him, the Hyderabad Police Commissioner’s Task Force Additional DCP B. Limba Reddy said.

Singh used to advertise in newspapers in the name of a Friendship Club stating those joining it would have the privilege of “meeting and socialising” with wealthy women. “All that you have to do is pay Rs. 5,000 members to become the club member. This would also give you an opportunity to earn money as the rich housewives would be ready to spend any amount of money if they like your company,” he was reported to be telling those contacting him.

Singh had been taking people for a ride in this fashion for over past two years and collected nearly Rs. 12.5 lakh towards membership fee. He used to tell the persons calling him that the money given first time by the women to them should be deposited in his account. “Whatever you earn subsequently will be yours,” he used to say to lure them.

The accused had spent nearly Rs. 2.5 lakh on newspaper advertisements. He would give a new mobile phone number for every fresh ad and switch off that phones once he collected the money from members so that he could not be tracked again.

The bank accounts in which the members were asked to deposit money were based in Azamgarh and he would draw the money through ATM centres here. “Worried of getting humiliated before others if the cheating came to light, many people who paid money didn’t prefer to lodge complaint,” the Additional DCP said.

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