NEW DELHI (AFP) – Bibhu Prakash Swain believed in soulmates and true love, or so he told at least 18 women he allegedly married and conned across India before his arrest – weeks before his next two weddings.
The diminutive 67-year-old scoured marriage websites posing as a 51-year-old doctor and persuaded professors, lawyers, medics and a paramilitary officer all over the country to tie the knot, police said.
In status-conscious India he claimed he was on a chunky salary, and used fake identification cards and appointment letters to bolster his credentials and family background. “He primarily did this for their money, and some pleasure,” senior police official Sanjiv Satpathy told AFP.
Satpathy’s team arrested Swain in recent days after months on his trail, discovering his multiple identities, bank accounts and plans for two weddings in February and March.
“He was always very persuasive,” Satpathy said, “and only targetted successful single, widowed or divorced women in their late 40s.”
A few “happy and satisfying days into the marriage”, the police said, Swain used to make excuses to borrow his new wives’ money or jewellery to help him with an emergency.
He then moved on to his next target, hoping that the women’s circumstances – as a single, widowed or divorced woman who had remarried in a conservative society – would scare them off going to the police.
Investigators believe Swain married more than 18 times and are now going through his mobile phone records where he saved his wives’ contacts – as Madam Delhi, Madam Assam or Madam UP (Uttar Pradesh) – named after the places in India where they stayed.
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