Fraud highlights risks of living in

Fraud highlights risks of living in

A partner asking for a huge amount of money is a red alert, say counsellors in the wake of a Rs 90 lakh heist

Vadiraj Gowda, 41, is now in the dock: police say he cheated his live-in partner, whom he met on Facebook a year ago, and her acquaintances of Rs 90 lakh.

Though a real-estate agent, Vadiraj introduced himself as a choreographer and promised to marry his social media friend and also to help her buy sites cheap.

He got introduced to her friends and family, and collected Rs 90 lakh from 45 people, including her sister, according to the police.

Vadiraj was arrested from Salem district in Tamil Nadu: he had been on the run since October.

In a society where live-in relationships still don’t have societal constant (even after the Supreme Court gave it a stamp of approval), it becomes difficult for a partner to open up about problems in the arrangement.

Metrolife spoke to experts to understand the risks involved.

Ajanta De, co-founder and counsellor, InnerSight Counselling and Training Centre, says, “When you meet someone online and there is no other contact, there is always a risk involved. While you might get carried away by emotions, it is always necessary to be mindful.”

Don’t take anyone at face value, she suggests, especially when it comes to making monetary decisions. Safety in a relationship is another big concern.

“While living in has become a lot common in the urban context, it is still not a broadly accepted concept in Indian society. This leads to a lot of people hiding it from their friends and family. It is important to have a trusted support system, and it is a good idea to let someone in the trusted circle know about major decisions such as this one,” she points out.

Irrespective of the length of time of a relationship, be cautious and look for red flags---like the partner asking for a large sum of money.

“Most of the time, it is the fear of conflict or losing the person that leads to giving in even though instinctively partners don’t want to give money,” observes Ajanta De. “It is a good idea to hold back and speak to a trusted friend.” Be in complete charge if the matter is about finances, she says. Not everyone you meet online is a cheat but there is a level of anonymity that makes it easier to cheat, she says.

Pradeep Singh, senior counsel, High Court of Karnataka, shares the legal steps a live-in partner can take.

“A live-in relationship is considered valid in India. In case of monetary loss or domestic violence, a woman can file a case under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 for recovery and compensation. She can also file a case of cheating under Section 420,” he says.

She can also file an application to restrain the man from coming anywhere close to her or even contacting her. Tania (name changed) has been living in with her boyfriend for two months, after being in a relationship for two years.

“The two are very different. The dynamics change drastically,” she says.

From the very beginning, the couple has made the relationship transparent. “Most of our friends know that we are living in together. This acts like a blanket of security and protection,” she observes.

Even when one is emotionally attached, it is important not to give out personal details. “Being in a relationship doesn’t mean one can act blind. Giving out bank details or the ATM card pin is risky and can backfire. If holding back these details causes a rift, that is your red flag,” she told Metrolife.