Kochi: The Magistrate Court has sentenced two sisters from Indore to three years of rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs.9.5 lakh for cheating disabled men from financially well-off families after marriage by absconding with cash and gold ornaments.
The first accused Megha Bhargava, 30 and second accused Prachi Sharma Bhargava, 32 were convicted by the court. The court ordered the repayment of the money swindled by them to the complainant. About 11 persons, including four Malayalis, bore the brunt of the marriage fraud committed by the sisters.
The third and the fourth accused were let off due to lack of evidence. The police registered a case against the sisters based on a complaint filed by an out of State person residing in Vyttila, who suffers from speech disorder. The case took a serious turn when the complainant's father died of heart attack due to mental agony.
Megha committed marriage fraud on many men by hiding the fact that she was married. She always used to pick disabled persons coming from affluent families as her target for committing marriage fraud. The modus operandi was that after two or three days of the marriage, she used to flee from the place with cash and gold belonging to the husband.
Megha married a Vyttila resident at a temple in Ernakulam in September 2015. Megha's relatives took the initiative for the marriage for her. But two days after marriage, Megha fled to Indore with assets worth Rs 9.5 lakh, including cash worth Rs.5.5 lakh, gold and diamond ornaments, luxury dresses and watches. The complainant approached the police only after all efforts to bring her back failed.
The disabled persons from affluent families, who lost money, gold ornaments and other valuables due to marriage fraud, usually do not complain to the police, ostensibly to avoid loss of face among the public. This weakness emboldened accused like Megha to commit more such crimes.
The city police, which probed the crime, arrested Megha, her sister Prachi, marriage brokers Mahendra Bundela, and Devendra Sharma. The charge sheet was filed by the Kadavanthra Sub Inspector of Police T Shaji. Assistant Public Prosecutors Lenin P Sukumaran and S Saiju appeared for the prosecution.