She had allegedly duped investors in her chit fund business of Rs.2.2 crore.

Absconding television artiste B. Vijaya Rani, who allegedly duped scores of co-artistes of nearly Rs.2.2 crore while operating a chit fund business, was nabbed by the Hyderabad Central Crime Station sleuths on Friday.

Seven others, including four members of her family, an advocate and a financier, were also arrested for abetting her, CCS DCP G. Pala Raju told reporters. A native of Gudivada in Krishna district, Ms. Rani is a seasoned actor in TV serials and films.

Many TV artistes had joined as members when she started the chit fund business a few years ago. She began securing loans for high rates of interest – ranging from three per cent to 20 per cent – from financiers to compensate losses in the business.

With debts piling up and she unable to clear them, the woman disappeared along with her son Saran Kumar, her sister Sudhalata and her son Chaitanya, and daughter-in-law Revati. She took the help of an advocate, Sittaiah Srinivas, who guided her on legal technicalities to evade the loans, the DCP said.

The lawyer advised her to sell her flat, house, vehicles and even mobile phones before disappearing, he added. The financier Mallesh Goud got her flat registered on his name through General Power of Attorney, suppressing the fact that it was already mortgaged with a bank, police said.

Mr. Raju said police would move courts to attach her properties in Hyderabad and Vijayawada to repay the money to the nearly 72 victims, the police said.

Cases would also be registered against financiers, the DCP said.

“I didn’t cheat anyone. Because the financiers started harassing me to clear the loans, having charged a huge rate of interest, I disappeared,” Ms. Rani said.


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