Mumbai, November 28: Nearly 350 men from the city and its outskirts who wanted to ply their trade as male escorts have been cheated by a gang. However, only one came forward to lodge a complaint as the rest were not willing to inflict self-incrimination upon themselves. Police have arrested two accused for dropping them and search for others is underway.

The gang would lure men to become members of “friendship groups" by paying them. They would tell the men that all they would need to do was visit hotel rooms to be with women clients. However, just as a member of one such friendship group would reach his designated hotel, the gang would ask the escorts to buy a gift by making an online payment to impress his client.  Posters of ‘Male Escort Jobs’ Surface Across Uttarakhand’s Kotdwar City, Police Launch Investigation

After payment was done, the man would enter the hotel and go to the room, only to find it either empty or occupied.

The gang used to approach victims on WhatsApp where they offered them membership for three groups: Geeta Friendship Club, Rushi Friendship Club and Neeta Spa Friendship Club. He said he was asked to pay a registration fee of Rs 1,500 plus Rs 1,500 more for two months' service. Delhi Male Escort Job Scam: Four Held for Duping People by Offering Handsome Salary for ‘Gigolo’ Service

The complainant was told by the gang that if he became a club member, he would be sent for massage services to women in various hotels, who will pay Rs 30,000-40,000. He was also told that he would have to pay the club 20% of the amount, reported TOI.

The racket came to light after one of the victims mustered the courage to inform the police.

The gang last week asked the complainant to go to a three-star hotel. He was asked to buy a "gift" (a body massage kit) by paying Rs 6,500 online. He was told that once he made the payment the club would provide him with the promised kit at the hotel room. The complainant was also asked to deposit Rs 11,000 as security before entering the hotel. He was told he would get the security deposit back.

In all, the complainant paid almost Rs 20,000 before realising that he had been duped.

Police said that they found many similar transactions on accused’s bank account after which they froze the account, which had Rs 7.27 lakh. They also seized seven mobile phones with seven SIM cards from the accused. Police are now looking for the other accused in the case, to which IPC sections for cheating and forgery have been applied.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 28, 2022 10:35 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website