The Nallapadu police arrested 11 persons, including a woman, in the alleged nude pujas case, and rescued two girls.
The accused allegedly lured the victims by promising them ₹1 lakh each if they participated in the rituals for one hour. They allegedly brought the victims to Ponnekallu village in Guntur district, and later shifted them to other locations.
Suspecting the behaviour of the fake priest and his accomplices, one of the victims alerted the police through the Disha app.
Responding to the alert, a team of Nallapadu police, led by DSP Md. Mahaboob Basha and CI B. Srinivas Rao, rushed to the spot and rescued the girls, who were students.
The police arrested the fake priest Nageswara Rao, and his accomplices Ravi, Aravinda, Nagendra Babu, Peddi Reddy, Bhaskar, Venkata Suresh, Subbu, Sagar, Shiva, and Radha in the case on Sunday. They were produced in court, said Superintendent of Police Arif Hafeez.
“The accused trapped the girls through their classmates, who brought them to Guntur in a bus on May 8 and kept them in a lodge. The following day, the accused took the girls to Nageswara Rao’s house at Ponnekallu, where puja was performed with the two girls in nude at 11 p.m.,” the SP said.
On May 10, the accused allegedly took the girls to Aravinda’s house at Chilakaluripet and performed similar pujas, where the fake priest allegedly misbehaved with the victims and used abusive language when they resisted.
When the accused tried to shift the girls back to Ponnekallu, one of the victims alerted the police, the DSP said.
Director General of Police K.V. Rajendranath Reddy, who reviewed the investigation of the case, appreciated the Nallapadu police for cracking the case swiftly.
The response time in the case was 10 minutes. The Disha app saved the girls.
Cases were registered against the accused under trafficking, wrongful confinement, attempt to rape and other charges, the SP said, and added that more arrests were likely in the case.