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A criminal with a difference

india Updated: Apr 03, 2008 01:16 IST
Ashok Das
Ashok Das
Hindustan Times
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His parents were devotees of Ram, so they called him Kodandaramaiah, one of the Lord’s many names. But at 45, this man from Bhadrachalam could easily find a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest number of crimes committed by an individual.

Andhra Pradesh Police records show that Kodandaramaiah has committed 298 offences over the last 20 years and has been booked as many times — a record in the state.

But Kodandaramaiah, who specialises in stealing two wheelers, is different. He does not sell the vehicles. Instead, he traces the owner, calls up and says he has stolen his vehicle. He then says he will return the vehicle for a price — anything between Rs 50 to Rs 100. And when he has not been able to trace the owner, he has handed the vehicle to the police station.

“There are 298 cases against him in various police stations in the district. He goes to jail, comes out and does it again. He has become a nuisance,” said Inspector Ramanamurthy.

But why does he return the vehicle when he can earn a fortune by selling them? Well, he says: “I am not a criminal. I do it just to get two square meals a day. I buy food with the money I get. When I don’t have money, I surrender to the police with a stolen vehicle and they forward me to the jail, where I get food.”

Kodandaramaiah is a graduate and wanted to become an entrepreneur. But after his father’s sudden death, his brothers threw him out. Deprived of a share in the family property, he tried his hand at many things but nothing clicked. After his child died, wife Shashikala too left him.

Since then I have been stealing to feed myself, says Kodandaramaiah. And some of the kind-hearted victims and, occasionally, policemen give me some clothes, which I wear.