One accused claimed to have a ‘vision’ that there were three underground rooms filled with treasures in the Puliguha hillocks.

On treasure hunt Andhra MBA graduate and two gurus arrested for digging 300-ft tunnel
news Crime Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 16:10

The Prakasam District Police in Andhra Pradesh uncovered a major incident after they arrested 64 people this week, including a businessman and two self-proclaimed godmen.

Their crime? Illegally using explosives to dig a 300-foot tunnel in search of gold and treasure in the Puliguha hillocks near Kocharlakota village in Donakonda mandal. 

The main accused in the case has been identified as Surasani Ravindra Reddy.

According to the police, Ravindra Reddy had it all. A native of Madavaram village in Kanigiri mandal, Reddy completed his MBA and was working as an India-wide sales manager at a Mumbai-based agro-products company.

Speaking to reporters, District Superintendent B Satya Yesu Babu said that he was earning at least Rs 25-30 lakh per year.

"However, he began getting interested in commodities trading and real estate, and quit his job. He began facing heavy losses and in 2014. He then consulted a self-styled 'guruji', Umamaheswara Rao based in Vijayawada," the SP said. 

Ravindra then spent several lakh rupees to conduct pujas and rituals to find treasures in the state.

He was later also introduced to ‘Guruji’ Rayudu, who said that he had a 'vision' that there were three underground rooms in Puliguha hillocks. 

Ravindra believed Rayudu's claim that the first room had gold, the second had jewellery and the third had idols of gods and goddesses. 

The crime

According to the police, the MBA-graduate, along with the two godmen, appointed close to 50 workers, and began excavating the hillock.

They detonated several hundred explosives over the course of more than a month, and managed to carve a deep tunnel through the rocks.

They also promised the workers a share of the loot, the police said.

According to reports, the workers were also asked to keep lemons in their pockets while taking part in the excavation work.

When locals heard the blasts and questioned them about it, the accused claimed that they were testing the quality of rocks there and had obtained all necessary permissions for it. 

"Umamaheswara Rao even went one step further, and bought fake gold, ornaments and jewellery from Vijayawada for a cheap price, and fooled the workers and Ravindra, that he had found it in the cave," Praksam DSP Nagaraj told TNM. 

With this, Rao convinced the workers to dig even further. 

Following their arrest, the police seized 175 kg of gelatin sticks, 91 electrical detonators, drilling machines, 15 kg ammonium nitrate and two generators.

"We have registered cases under multiple sections from damaging public property, to cheating, as well as other sections for indulging in such heavy blasting, without any sort of permission," Nagaraj added.  

 

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