In a major development, the Vijayawada 1st Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court has started inquiry into the sensational ‘call money’ case of 2015, on Friday, according to local media reports.
This comes nearly two weeks after the first charge sheet was filed against the accused.
In 2015, a huge racket involving moneylending, extortion and flesh trade came to light in Andhra Pradesh. Several people from business and political parties, including government officials, were probed in the case.
On January 20, 2018, police filed a charge sheet against seven accused under IPC Sections 376 (D), 376 (1), 354(A) (i) (ii), 354 (D), 384, 420, 509, 506, 450, 452, 467, 468, 471, 365, 342 IPC r/w 34, and 120(B), Times of India reported.
Yalamanchili Srirama Murthy (46) is the main accused in the case.
The other accused are Polurowthu Bhavani Sankara Varaprasad (23), Chennupati Srinivas (52), M Satyanandam (49), Venigalla Srikanth (40), Pendyala Srikanth (40), and Dudala Rajesh (33).
While M Sathyanandam attended the court hearing, the remaining failed to appear and the matter has been posted for March 2.
The present case which reached the court was filed in Machavaram police station of Vijayawada commissionarate.
The case first came to light in 2015 when some victims of the ‘call money’ racket sought the help of Vijayawada police commissioner, alleging that they were being sexually exploited by the lenders.
It is referred to as ‘call money’ because people could get a loan after making a phone call to a lender. However, the loan came with an exorbitant interest rate of interest between 60% and 200%. Houses, vehicles and other valuable items were taken as collateral.
The chief allegation was made by one of the victims who claimed that she had been gang raped by the main accused and others at a hotel in the city, after her cool drink was spiked. She further alleged that the perpetrators of the crime threatened to put her nude images in the public domain.
Reports in the local media suggest that along with sexual exploitation of the women, many accused also forced the women into flesh trade.
The Vijayawada City police had reportedly received as many as 1,827 complaints pertaining to the case, for which a special cell was created.
Recently, during the annual crime review, Vijayawada City Commissioner of Police, Gautam Sawang, said that while 1,722 cases were probed, at least 832 cases were settled through alternative dispute resolution method.