A self-styled saint and his associate, who took Rs. 20 lakh from a couple promising to increase the amount by a whopping 10 times with the help of ‘mystical powers’, were arrested by the Kukatpally police on Thursday.

An amount of Rs. 11 lakh was recovered from accused B. Shiva and his accomplice A.S. Murthy, after they were caught in Bangalore. Investigators also realised that the duo had duped a businessman in Bangalore of Rs.40 lakh in a similar fashion, said Kukatpally ACP M. Malla Reddy.

Murthy, hailing from East Godavari district, was earlier a priest. He befriended Shiva, an electrician, in Kolar of Karnataka and both of them hatched a plot to make some quick money by exploiting people’s faith in the ‘mystical powers’ of saints.

Shiva lured a chit fund agent in Hyderabad, N. Durga Prasad, and his wife N. Phani, hailing from Murthy’s village. He came to Kukatpally on December 4 and after offering prayers with flowers asked the couple to leave Rs. 3,000 near the flowers.

“Sending everyone out, Shiva put Rs. 3 lakh in the flowers making the couple believe in their magical powers,” the ACP said. He returned to the city on December 14 and asked Mr. Prasad to keep Rs. 20 lakh near the flowers. After sending their children to a nearby temple, Shiva gave beetle leaves laced with a sedative to the couple and when they fell unconscious, fled with the money, he added.

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