Visakhapatnam: A 27-year-old man who made calls to about 15 local and national political leaders and cheated two MLAs by collecting Rs 25 lakh from them by pretending to be PA to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and PS to former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, was arrested and produced before the media on Wednesday.
Pandiri Vishnu Murthy (27), an engineering dropout, along with his accomplices Gandhavarapu Tarun Kumar, a rowdy sheeter (30), Pilla Jaya Krishna (24) and Maradana Jagadeesh (24), belong to Visakhapatnam district.
Police said that Vishnu Murthy developed an interest in hacking and built contacts with hackers.
He got access to the phone numbers of highly influential persons using the dark web.
About five cases were registered against him in various police stations, including Hyderabad. City Police Commissioner Mahesh Chandra Laddha said that the case is a first of its kind, as they have never dealt with a case in which the phone number, email addresses and all other details are fake.
The accused used a phone spoofing application where if he calls from one number, the number received by the party called will be the same phone number as that of the Chief Minister’s PA or PS.
On May 7, Pandiri Murthy called then Pendurthi MLA Bandaru Satyanarayana and pretended to be Chandrababu Naidu’s PS, Srinivas.
He told the MLA to send Rs 10 lakh as directed by Mr Naidu. The MLA handed over the money to his driver.
After Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy became Chief Minister, Pandiri Murthy called Palasa MLA Sidiri Appala Raju pretending to be the Chief Minister’s PA, K. Nageswara Reddy, and collected Rs 15 lakh. This successful attempt was made while the police were searching for him.
The police have seized Rs 5.8 lakh in cash from Murthy, along with 28.22 grams of gold, 19.24 grams of silver and 5 mobile phones.