Hyderabad: A model-turned-small Bollywood actor and his wife, who were arrested Monday in connection with a child modeling racket, were in contact with top actors and technicians for opportunities in their films, police said.

Cyberabad Police on Monday arrested the duo, Apurva Ashwin Dawda and Natasha Kapoor, for allegedly tricking people into placing their children alongside celebrities in commercials and movies. They organized ramp rides in malls to sign up kids and raised money for costumes and makeup for shoots, making sure the same would be reimbursed.

On Tuesday, a Visakhapatnam-based family came to the police claiming they had been cheated out of `4 lakh by the couple. The family said they came into contact with Dawda at a mall in the city. Police said more victims had come forward in the city and across Andhra Pradesh to press charges against the duo.

Police say the duo are under police scanner after being booked in similar cases in 2016 and 2021 and skipped bail in two previous cases. To escape scrutiny, they moved frequently, stayed in fancy hotels, and stopped using social media.

Police said Dawda obtained contact details for the malls through their social media platforms and used WhatsApp to contact them to arrange ramp rides. He also communicated on WhatsApp with job candidates he attracted to organize the shows.

Dawda was an expert photographer and used his skills to earn money in Goa, police said.

The police moved the court to request his custody for further questioning.

Police said Dawda, was born in an African country after his parents migrated there from Gujarat, completed his higher education in the United States and came to India to become an actor. He was successful in a role in the movie ‘OM’ but the chances dried up due to his criminal past.

Police said he had a strong fondness for high-end cars. Not having the means to buy new ones, he would buy those who were about to be eliminated. His last such purchase was a car for Rs.10 lakh.

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By bfrpx

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