A confidence trickster who allegedly blackmailed and duped unsuspecting women to part with lands, jewellery and cash running into several millions of rupees after promising to marry them, was arrested by police after several months of investigations.The 40-year-old suspect was picked up from a house at Thalawatugoda earlier this week in a sting operation carried out by sleuths from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
Police Senior Superintendent (SSP) J. W. Amarasinghe told the Sunday Times that the suspect had duped at least 20 women, both divorcees and others, over the past several years and had amassed a personal fortune.
At the time of his arrest the suspect was in possession of nearly Rs. 1.5 million in cash, two luxury vehicles and an automatic handgun, SSP Amarasinghe said.
The modus operandi of the suspect was simple. Posing off as a wealthy businessman he would approach the unsuspecting victim with a proposal of marriage after picking her name out from a newspaper matrimonial column.
To convince the victim further into believing him the suspect hurriedly makes the necessary arrangements paying a large advance to book a reception hall for the wedding ceremony, SSP Amarasinghe added.
It is at this stage that the suspect would approach the woman for a large sum of money saying that it was needed to urgently clear an imported vehicle that could be used by the bridal couple.
Once the money is handed over the suspect persuades the victim to have sex with him in a hotel room and the entire episode is filmed with the aid of a camera phone.
He later tells the victim to call off the marriage or else the pictures would be made public. When such blackmail fails the suspect pulls out a gun and threatens to kill the victim, SSP Amarasinghe further said.
In one case the suspect is alleged to have duped two women for cash and valuables estimated at Rs. 4.5 million and Rs. 2.1 million, he said.
The areas in which the suspect picked the unsuspecting victims were from Maharagama, Matara and Chilaw.