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Fake godman peddling ‘hidden treasure’ held

Several people hoodwinked, say police

A fake godman and two of his accomplices were arrested by Rajampeta police for trying to hoodwink people by claiming that they had knowledge of a hidden treasure.

Shaik Mahboob Basha alias Usman Ali Khan, hailing from Gooty town in Anantapur district, donned the guise of a godman and began calling himself ‘Syed Baba’. Basha used to sell coffee powder and later sold saris for a living before he decided to earn a quick buck by becoming a fake godman.

Along with a man named Murali of Enampalli village in Puttaparthi mandal, Basha began posing as a man with deep occult knowledge who had the ability to detect ‘treasures’ hidden deep below the ground. Basha managed to hoodwink several people and collected ₹10,000 to ₹20,000 from them in order to tell them where such treasures were hidden.

Two months ago, Murali succumbed to COVID-19 after which Basha joined hands with a man named S. Venkatesulu and an ITI graduate S. Satish, who provided Basha SIM cards.

The trio broke into the house of a liquor baron after hearing that a large sum of money was hidden in the house, but returned empty-handed. They made similar burglary attempts in Anantapur, Tirupati, Molakamuru and Rajampet areas.

Based on information, the trio was picked up at Bellary Chowrastha in Kurnool by Rajampeta Rural Inspector Y. Narendra Reddy early on Friday.

Superintendent of Police K.K.N. Anburajan produced the trio, mentioned as accused number 23, 34 and 35 respectively in the case, at a press meet here on Friday and appreciated the team headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police (Rajampeta) Narayanaswamy Reddy for the breakthrough.

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