Updated: September 12, 2020 9:35:46 am
The ‘doctor’ had worked in at least 16 private hospitals, conducted several medical camps and even volunteered with the local police for assisting migrant workers during the pandemic. But then Veeragandham Teja was just 23 years of age to have such an illustrious medical career.
Teja’s luck ran out on September 10, when the Rachakonda police, acting on a complaint of alleged mental and physical harassment filed by his second wife, stumbled upon a web of lies and deceit. The second wife had alleged that Teja had concealed his earlier marriage and pressed charges of cheating. The police then found four other FIRs prevailing against him, ranging from collecting money and cheating people on the pretext of solving land disputes, promises of government and private jobs to criminal intimidation and even causing hurt. He used aliases like Avinash Reddy, Teja Reddy and YS Teja, and the police found he even claimed to be a close relative of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
But the biggest surprise came when they realised this so-called doctor was in fact a Class 5 dropout. Everything from his Class 10 marks memo, to provisional certificates and migration certificates from universities were forged and fraudulently procured with the help of education consultancies, the police claimed.
The police also arrested his father Veeragandham Venkat Rao, and one Bokudi Srinivasa Rao, who operated a consultancy in the Ongole city of Prakasam district in Andhra Pradesh. Five others who connived with Teja and provided him with the certificates are at large.
In 2016, Teja was arrested by Sampigehalli police in Bengaluru as he went about impersonating himself as an IPS officer and also used official vehicles claiming to be a senior IPS officer’s son. He was acquitted in the case, said the police.
A press note from Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said the mark sheets and transfer certificates were procured for Rs 1 lakh from Bhartiya Shiksha Parishad in Lucknow with help of school in-charge Marry Thomson, an accused in the case now. Further, he secured a copy of tabulation charts of different years between 2010 and 2014 to show his pursuance of MBBS from Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Memorial Health Sciences and Ayush University of Chhattisgarh, Raipur. As he did not make the full payment, he was given only the scanned copies and not the original documents by the employee, who is also an accused in the case.
The probe by Rachakonda police found out that using these certificates, Teja joined JN Medical College for an internship where he actually learnt about medical treatment and also became fluent in English, Hindi, and Kannada. Even as he joined a Bengaluru hospital as DMO, he continued his tryst with fake and forged certificates. This time, after his release from jail and while working in different hospitals in Hyderabad, he went back to Srinivasa Rao and obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and an MBA in Hospital Management from the Himalayan University in Arunachal Pradesh for the academic years 2016-2017 & 2018-2019 respectively.
A senior officer from Rachakonda police called Teja “someone with a lot of potential to harm the society.” “He is very clever. As he meets someone he finds out that person’s likes and dislikes and acts accordingly. Even when he was arrested in Bengaluru for cheating and impersonating as IPS officer, he managed to safeguard his identity as a doctor,” he told indianexpress.com.
According to the police, Teja ran away from home at the age of eight to escape his stepmother’s torture. He roamed cities like Vijayawada, Tirupati, Kolkata and Lucknow selling snacks and water bottles in trains till he met one doctor YS Purushotham Reddy. As Teja claimed to be an orphan, Reddy brought him to Tirupati and provided shelter.
“What drove him is probably the status and elevation in society, apart from money. The larger picture is the certificate racket operated by education consultancies. Surprisingly, he worked in several super-specialty hospitals without attracting anyone’s suspicion,” the officer said..
“Teja used to save names of senior IAS and IPS officers in his phone with random numbers. He used to drop names and claims of having earlier worked in AIIMS Delhi. He was telling different stories to different people. When his (second) wife lodged a complaint against him, we found out that he had already married once. In fact, his father posed as the maternal uncle during the second wedding in July 2020 and maintained so till his arrest,” said the officer.
The suspicion for the police became stronger when he was found using a Fortuner SUV, owned by a history-sheeter, with a “Govt Vehicle” sticker on it. The Special Operations Team and Medipally police arrested Teja from his Boduppal residence on Thursday evening. The three accused persons have been remanded in judicial custody.
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