The Hyderabad police have arrested a man involved in the high-profile theft of an Audi Q3 car worth over Rs 40 lakh last month. The man made away with the car from a used car dealer's showroom on the pretext of a test drive.
29-year-old Samanasa Venkata Ramana walked into the showroom, and calmly introduced himself as Gautam Reddy, a doctor from Apollo hospital, before swindling the owner and his associates.
For Ramana, this was not his first time being involved in such a crime. In fact, according to the police, this was likely his 40th attempt at stealing a vehicle.
The police say that Ramana has been involved in over 83 cases of theft or fraud, spread across the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
He is currently facing pending charges in 23 cases.
"Whatever he would steal, he would often lead a lavish life style. He created many fake documents. We found around 23-24 ID proofs with him. He was a smooth talker. He would say that he was the son of a politician, or some VIP, or doctor and extort money from people or just drive away with vehicles. He would cheat people at every chance he got," West Zone DCP A Venkateshwar Rao said at a news conference.
Reports add that Ramana changed 47 mobiles and sim cards in six years to avoid scrutiny. He would place advertisements in local newspapers and sell the stolen cars to unsuspecting customers before escaping.
Ramana then went on to don several roles, from a â€˜lecturerâ€™ with Narayana College, to a â€˜doctorâ€™ at a Kakinada hospital, to even a â€˜job consultantâ€™, TOI reported.
In 2007, the police claim that Ramana established an entire fake company with fake documents called 'PHAV Software Technologies' in 2007, through which he cheated 230 educated, unemployed people to the tune of Rs 2.5 crore.
Ramana is stated to have spent all this money lavishly by betting on horse races and cricket matches in multiple states.
The police also seized an air gun from his possession, which he used to intimidate people.
This is not the first time Ramana has been arrested.
First arrested in 2008, he escaped while being escorted from a local court to a prison in Andhra.
In 2009, he was arrested in Hyderabad and lodged at the Vishakapatnam jail, but fled after throwing sand in the eyes of constables escorting him.
In 2015, he was caught and yet again, he escaped from the police escort at Aruandalpet in Andhra's Guntur district.
He resurfaced last month, with the Audi theft.
"He has been sent to 14-day judicial custody for now," a police officer from the Banjara Hills police station told TNM.