MUMBAI: Friendship Clubs beware! If you are giving false promises to fix dates with women and men, then you could be prosecuted under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (PITA). The city police have invoked various sections of the Act against members of a
gang who ran a similar racket.
Faiyaz Babu Sheikh (45) and Abrar Usman Shaikh (27) of Kalyan were arrested by the Mumbai crime branch in December, 2011 along with three others for running a ‘friendship club’ racket.
The Bombay High Court had observed that people indulging in such crime should be booked under stringent sections.
The gang’s modus operandi is simple. It would place advertisements in newspapers and promised the callers of fixing dates with women and men from upper-class society for a `10,000 membership fee.
After the victims deposited the money in a bank account, there would be no contact from the ‘club’. The gang was busted when a person lodged a complaint with the police.
Justice Rekha Sondurbaldota, while hearing the bail plea of the two accused, observed that such racketeers ought to be booked under stringent laws besides cheating. Public prosecutor Geeta Mulekar informed the High Court on Monday that section 4 (1), 4 (2) (C) and 8 (a) of PITA dealing with crimes relating to running a prostitution racket and acting as a pimp have been added to section 420 under IPC for cheating against the accused persons.
In October, 2011, the police had busted a similar racket that conned several high profile people, including a former IAS officer.
According to the police, besides cheating the gang would also blackmail the victims.