The accused, identified as Jatindra Behera of Karadagadia village in the district, was promising jobs with a steel company in exchange of Rs one lakh cash each, Jajpur Superintendent of Police Deepak Kumar said.
While Behera, said to be the kingpin, was arrested by Kalinga Nagar police on Saturday, two other members of the racket gave police a slip during a raid at a hotel where they were conducting fake interview, police said.
The trio allegedly cheated at least 20 persons, they said adding the prime accused allegedly cheated the job seekers of money to the tune of rupees five lakh.
The matter came to light after some locals informed the police on Saturday afternoon that three-four youths took over a dozen of women to a hotel.
Police then raided the hotel and took 14 persons including 12 women to the police station. On inquiry, the women narrated the story.
"During our raid, two youths managed to give police a slip. We arrested the prime accused, (kingpin) of the racket and rescued 14 job seekers, including 12 women, the SP said.
Explaining the modus operndi, Kumar said ladies were engaged to lure educated women job seekers of their areas and each job aspirant was asked to pay rupees one lakh to get employment in a steel plant.