In the beginning, it was just a routine investigation into the death of a wealthy businessman, suspected to have committed suicide after killing his wife and two minor children in Bangalore in March this year. But the probe took an unexpected turn when the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) uncovered a plot that seemed to have been lifted from a film script, with the businessman turning out to be a wanted fraudster who had been living a double life for the last 13 years.
The businessman, Kaushik Puneesh Sharma, 40, who in his suicide note had accused the Andhra Pradesh police of harassing him, was found to be Sathish Reddy — wanted by the AP police for cheating industrialists, businessmen and NRIs of crores of rupees. Sharma, who lived in a plush gated colony on the outskirts of Bangalore, had earlier claimed that Reddy was his twin brother and had died in 2013.
But CID investigations revealed that Reddy took on the new identity about 13 years back, before he married his second wife, Srilatha, a Brahmin. He even procured a death certificate in his own name to escape the police and the many people he had cheated across the country and abroad. Reddy is reported to have amassed a huge amount of property in India and abroad.
He is suspected to have killed Srilatha, daughter Sriraksha, 11, and son Kaustub, 9, by injecting poison, before committing suicide on March 27, after the AP police suspected his identity and began investigations. Their bodies were discovered by Sumeda Reddy, 16, who was initially identified as the daughter of his dead “twin brother” but was later found to be his daughter from his first marriage.
CID officials suspect Reddy’s family was in the know and supported him, including projecting Sumeda as his niece. Before committing suicide, he transferred the ownership of his property to Sumeda, who told the police that she was his daughter when it became apparent that there could be complications in claiming Reddy’s properties in India and abroad.
“He was a brilliant communicator. He used his skills to lure many people. He was born to Ramachandra Reddy, a government employee in Andhra Pradesh, and studied in boarding schools with his elder brother Sri Krishna Reddy. He used the existence of his elder brother to cook up the twin brother story,” said a police officer.
Some officials involved in the probe said they felt like they were watching a suspense film as new facts tumbled out during the investigation. “We are not able to estimate the extent of his assets… He was involved in the hawala racket and also invested in properties,” said the officer.