Police on Saturday arrested Thota Balaji Naidu, an alleged conman, for cheating C Kanaka Reddy, TRS MLA from Malkajgiri, of Rs 90,000 by convincing him to pay for a government scheme that doesn’t exist.
During the investigation, police found that Balaji, using a variety of aliases since 2008, had allegedly cheated several prominent politicians of amounts ranging from Rs 20,000 to 2.5 lakh with similar, and fake, government schemes. But most of the politicians did not lodge a police complaint, reportedly fearing ridicule as the case would reveal their ignorance about government schemes.
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The politicians allegedly defrauded by Balaji include Botsa Satyanarayana, former Congress leader who recently joined YSRCP, Malkajgiri TDP MP Malla Reddy (Telangana, BJP MLA from Amberpet (Hyderabad) G Kishan Reddy, TDP Rajya Sabha MP T Devender Goud, TDP MLAs Mandali Buddha Prasad (Avanigadda, AP), Jaimangala Venkata Ramana (Kaikalur, AP), D Narender (Ponnur, AP), YSRCP MP from Khammam (Telangana), Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy, Congress MLA Budida Bikshamaiah Goud (Alair, Telnagana), Rajya Sabha MP Palvai Govardan Reddy, Daggubati Venkateshwara Rao, former MLA and husband of former union minister D Purandereshwari, and former MLA K Veerabhadra Swamy.
Balaji, a former employee of NTPC who was dismissed in 2008, allegedly claimed to be a deputy secretary from Telangana’s Rural Development Department while pitching the fake scheme. He allegedly called up the Malakajgiri MLA on June 8, introducing himself as Raghavendra Reddy. “He told the MLA that the Telangana government had announced a scheme giving 50 per cent subsidy to persons interested in setting up dairy farms, provision stores etc. To avail the benefit, one has to enroll in the scheme and become a member of the ‘Kutumba Sankshema Abhivrudhi Nidhi’ by paying Rs 300, he told Reddy. He suggested that the MLA enroll at least 300 of his supporters by paying Rs 90,000 as the enrollment fee,” said DCP, Malkajgiri Zone, Rema Rajeshwari.
When Reddy transferred Rs 90,000 but failed to get any confirmation about the scheme, he called the rural development department, only to be told that neither the scheme nor the officer existed, said the police.
“Based on a complaint by the MLA’s staff, we probed the case and arrested Balaji,’’ said the DCP.