Engineer cheated ashrams to help the poor

A Mechanical Engineer, who allegedly cheated some mutts/ashrams of Rs. 6 lakh and used the money for the benefit of poor children, was arrested by the Central Crime Branch police on Wednesday. A special team investigating the case apprehended R. Prakash (39), a native of Madurai, from Eluru in Andhra Pradesh where he lived with his family. The modus operandi of the accused was to send emails to ashrams/mutts appreciating their good work.

He would offer to donate vehicles for their service projects and ask them to deposit money in a bank account towards payment of road tax, insurance and conveyance.

“Prakash opened an account in a private bank using fake documents. He managed to procure a driving licence with bogus certificates. Of the 100 ashrams/mutts to whom he sent mails, eight responded and deposited money in the account,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (CCB) M. Sudhakar said.

A city-based mutt suspected foul play and lodged a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner of Police C. Sridhar who formed the special team to investigate. The team traced the source of emails to Eluru from where the suspect was picked up.

Prakash had developed a hatred for self-styled godmen after his father Rajagopal lost Rs. 2 lakh to a Swamiji, who promised to solve a problem in the family in 2003. After Rajagopal realised that he was cheated, his health condition deteriorated and he died within six months. In less than a year, Prakash's mother Lalitha also died.

“This incident made Prakash mentally unstable…he lost his job in a private firm at Hosur. He converted to another religion and married a woman of Eluru who had two children. After settling down there, he created fake email and bank account,” Dr. Sudhakar said. Preliminary enquiries revealed that Prakash hardly used any money he got from ashrams/mutts for himself. “He used to pay school fees for poor children. Sometimes, he spent the money for the treatment of children in orphanages. In one case, he returned the money to a mutt after realising that it was doing good service to visually challenged people,” he said.

A case of cheating was registered against Prakash who was produced in a city court and remanded to judicial custody.

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