A day after Rs. 6.7 crore cash was seized from an auto-rickshaw in front of Andhra Pradesh DGP Dinesh Reddy’s office, a city-based realtor on Thursday claimed the money and told the police it was for godman Bal Sai Baba’s ashram.
“T Ramarao said the money was being transferred to Mysore to buy land for a proposed Bal Sai Ashram,” said Hyderabad DCP Tarun Joshi.
Police have handed over the cash to the I-T department and are looking at all angles, including hawala, an illicit channel used for transferring money by circumventing legitimate banking channels.
Bal Sai Baba, 53, is a self-proclaimed godman from Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh.
Ramarao, who claims to be a devotee of the Baba, told the police the money was drawn from a bank in Hyderabad.
He said his aide Vamsi had packed the money — in denominations of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 — in three cotton bags and was taking it in an auto-rickshaw to a middleman for the land deal.
The auto-rickshaw, however, broke down in front of the state police headquarters, forcing Vamsi to hire another one. A haggling over fare drew the attention of two constables, who spotted the bags. Vamsi fled as they discovered the cash.