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Fake SIM, Maoist threat, detonators: How Andhra ‘godman’ tried to extort minister

The self-styled godman set up an elaborate hoax and used a mobile registered in another person’s name in Rayagadh in Odisha to pose as a Maoist and threaten the minister.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2018 13:40 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Godman,Extortion attempt,Maoist threat
The godman had been collecting money from rich people and political leaders of north-coastal Andhra Pradesh by offering to perform special puja to ward off life-threatening forces

The Andhra Pradesh police on Monday arrested a self-styled godman who allegedly tried to extort money from the state’s textiles and transport minister Kinjarapu Atchannaidu by offering to organise special prayers to neutralise a Maoist threat to his life.

Murapaka Kalidasa Sarma, a self-styled astrologer and priest from Parvathipuram town in Vizianagaram district, had been collecting big money from rich people and political leaders of north-coastal Andhra Pradesh with an elaborate hoax of threats to their lives and that he would perform special puja to ward off evil forces, the Srikakulam police said.

A few days ago, he made a call to Atchannaidu’s personal assistant and told him that the minister who hails from Tekkali in Srikakulam district was on the hit list of Maoists and might face attack from them anytime. He offered to perform a special puja for his safety.

“In the first week of January, the godman obtained a mobile sim card in the name of a tribal at Rayagadh in Odisha and made a call to the minister’s assistant again posing as a Maoist and threatening that the minister would be killed soon. In order to substantiate their threat, Sarma, along with his accomplice J Sankara Rao from Rayagadh, stuffed some detonators in a vehicle tyre and placed it near Naidu’s village. The police who conducted security checks discovered these explosives on January 12,” Srikakulam superintendent of police Trivikram Varma told the media.

After a complaint from the minister’s office, five police teams swung into action and traced the threatening call to Odisha. They first arrested Sankara Rao and based on the leads given by him, they arrested Sarma from his ashram at Parvathipuram.

First Published: Jan 16, 2018 12:35 IST