A college student who allegedly made ransom calls to families of three missing Uttarakhand flood victims was arrested in Hyderabad on Tuesday, police said.
Sunkari Sai Charan Teja, alias Chinni, claimed the victims were in his custody and threatened to sell their kidneys if they failed to pay money, they said.
Based on specific information, sleuths of the Commissioner's Task Force (East Zone) apprehended Chinni who made phone calls and sent SMSes to family members (based in Kerala) of the three victims, who were on a 'Char Dham' yatra, demanding a ransom of Rs 75,000, they said.
Chinni, studying B. Com at a local college, told the family members he would sell kidneys of the victims who he claimed were in his custody and undergoing treatment at a city hospital, if they failed to pay up.
The police have seized one cellphone and four SIM cards from Chinni's possession.
During interrogation, it came out that Chinni had incurred a debt of Rs 33,000. As he was unable to repay the debt, Chinni sought monetary help from his friend Kiran (working in Delhi) but did not get any positive response.
While in Delhi recently, Chinni had gone to Andhra Bhavan and saw an advertisement in a newspaper "requesting the readers to inform whereabouts of Anand Arunachalam, Sheela and Sowmya" who went missing in Kedarnath, police said.
The youngster hatched a plan to make easy money. The family members and relatives of the victims were ready to pay the ransom amount but insisted that Chinni should e-mail photos of the victims. Chinni, instead, sent SMSes demanding money, prompting the family members to approach the police.
Police also nabbed Chinni's friend Anil Kumar who provided him the SIM cards procured on the basis of fake documents.