Fear of snakes and persisting anxiety about facing the reptiles led a businessman from Bhongir to lose ₹37.71 lakh over two years to a gang of fake sadhus from Rajasthan.
In November 2020, Kondal Reddy of Ramakrishnapuram village came across a snake for the first time. Scared out of his wits, he lost control of his motorcycle, fell down and sustained injuries. A month later, when he was at his office, two sadhus who came by seeking alms learnt about the incident, and advised a ‘sarpa dosha’ puja.
Rachakonda police commissioner Mahesh M. Bhagwat, explaining the incident and following events on Tuesday, said Mr. Reddy lost several instalments of ₹41, 000 per puja to the sadhus, and eventually, about ₹37.71 lakh.
The accused sadhus Sanjunath, Goraknath, Ramnath, Jonath, Govindnath and Arjunath had visited the victim’s house to perform the puja, and had asked him to deposit the money with other agents, through which they got their share.
All the accused and agents were identified as businessmen from Rajasthan. A total of ₹8.30 lakh in cash, money-counting machines and puja material was recovered from them. They have been booked for cheating, criminal intimidation and under provisions of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act.