Staff Reporter

The accused claim to be naxalites

Political leaders using Flex hoardings for personal publicity targeted

None of the victims lodged complaint with police fearing backlash

HYDERABAD: From street leaders to State-level politicians, everybody is using Flex hoardings these days as they are not easily damaged though they are costlier when compared to hand painted ones.

Strangely, some ‘Sarpanches’ of villages on the city outskirts became targets of extortionist gang for using Flex hoardings.

The Cyberabad police on Tuesday arrested two persons -- M. Shankar, 23, and Y. Shankar -- who allegedly resorted to extortion claiming themselves to be naxalites. They targeted leaders using Flex hoardings for personal publicity.

“The duo thought village-level leaders using latest publicity tools like Flex hoardings must be well off and would easily yield if threatened in the name of naxalites,” the Cyberabad Special Operations Team Inspector P. Radha Kishan Rao said. Both the accused hailed from Bodlada village of Warangal district.

A commerce graduate, M. Shankar earlier worked as driver for Sriramulu, also from Warangal, who allegedly extorted money from several persons posing as naxalite and was arrested by the police. He joined hands with Y. Shankar, a student of M.A., to make money in similar fashion.

Letter heads

The duo got printed letter pads in the name of CPI-ML Praja Pratighatana (Chandra Pulla Reddy group) at Suryapet in Nalgonda.

As Y. Shankar was well-versed in Telugu, he used to draft the letters threatening the targets to pay money towards party fund.

The duo used to move on the city outskirts selecting their targets and collecting all details about them.

First, they would drop the letter personally at the target’s house and later make threatening phone calls. Thus, they collected money from several persons.

The Inspector said the duo had extorted Rs. One lakh each from Narsingi and Kokapet Sarpanches Venkatesh Yadav and Jaipal Reddy, Rs. 5,000 from Keesara Sarpanch Venkatesh, Rs. 80,000 from Dammaiguda former Sarpanch Sadanandam and Rs. 50,000 from Satish of Narkonda village near Shamshabad. Fearing backlash, none of them lodged complaint with the police.

Mr. Radha Kishan Rao appealed to people to approach him on his mobile phone no. 94906-17228 or his Sub-Inspectors -- V. Bhaskar-94906-17285 and A. Ram Reddy-94906-17462 -- in case of any such threats from extortionists.

“Details of people furnishing information would be kept secret,” he assured.