Begging racket victims in Chennai receive treatment

The accused printed fake ID and business cards which identified him as a psychiatrist. Photo: Special Arrangement  

A day after a fake psychiatric clinic, which was at the centre of a begging racket in the city, was busted, five of the six victims were sent to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in Kilpauk for treatment.

Another victim, a six-year-old-girl, was reunited with her family. The husband of one of the women also arrived in the city on Tuesday.

The six had been kept at a lodge in Parrys and forced to beg at traffic signals by K. Sundar, a quack. The police also conducted raids at 22 lodges and mansions in the Esplanade area.

IMH officials had filed a woman missing case with the Kilpauk police in May after one of the victims Kannagi (38) escaped from the institution. On Tuesday, her husband S. Arugumugam and child arrived at the station after having been informed by the police of her rescue. Arumugam had admitted Kannagi to the Institute of Mental Health in Kilpauk a few months ago. She had been wandering around Koyambedu bus depot when Sundar met her.

Another victim, Priya from Puducherry, who is three months pregnant, was picked up by the suspect in Chennai after she fled her home, allegedly the day after her husband passed away.

The rescued six-year-old speech impaired child was handed over to her parents Chittibabu and Subha, who are pavement dwellers near Moore Market. The couple, who met the quack three months ago at the market, handed over their child to Sundar after he offered to treat the child. He made the couple sign a few fake certificates and documents to take the child in for treatment.

Meanwhile, police are planning to seal Premier Mansion and Lodge on Amberson Street where the fake clinic was operated and the victims housed for the past several months.

The police commissioner’s permission is awaited for this step. Action will also be taken against the owner Babu, who runs a chain of lodges and mansions in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

The police on Monday had raided the lodge after a call from a resident who found the activities in the lodge suspicious.

Sundar, a native of Kallidaikurichi in Tirunelveli, his two employees M. Anandi (32) of KM Garden and S. Damayandhi (38) of Periamet, and lodge manager R. B. Rafiq who hails from Thrissur in Kerala were arrested.

A class X drop-out, Sundar had printed ID cards and visiting cards that identified him as a psychiatrist and a trustee of what he called Angamal Trust.

He set up an office in the lodge claiming to run ‘Mindpower Academy Counselling Centre.’ He lived in the lodge for five months and also kept the mentally ill people there with the help of Rafiq. Sundar sent the six people to signals in Purasaiwalkam, T Nagar, Tambaram and Koyambedu where they were forced to hold up placards saying ‘AIDS’ and ‘Please save us’ and beg for money.

Sundar told police that he had earned anywhere between Rs. 3,000 and Rs. 5,000 per day and close to Rs. 1.5 lakh a month from the six persons.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2021 11:05:48 PM |

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