ACB begins probe into extortion by fake gang

Sleuths of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) conducted raids on the offices where some officers allegedly gave money to the fake ACB gang, in the State a few days ago.

The ACB officials are investigating the reasons for the officers falling in the trap of the imposters and paid the amount, said ACB Joint Directors Reddy Gangadhar Rao and P.V. Ravi Kumar.

Speaking to the media here on Tuesday, Mr. Gangadhar (Rayalaseema Zone) said the Ananthapur and Kurnool police arrested the gang, who extorted money from some officials posing themselves as ACB sleuths.

The alleged fake ACB gang members include N. Jaya Krishna, T. Golla Gangaiah, D. Solomon Raju, B. Sai Kumar, Narayana Swamy, K. Narayanappa Govindaraju, Ramashankarappa Hemanth Kumar, and Uday Kumar.

The police arrested Jayakrishna, who posed himself as ACB CI and Gangaiah, who introduced himself as ACB DSP and four others. They collected about ₹37 lakh from the officers in the last few months, the Joint Director said.

The gang took three SIM cards from Karnataka and opened accounts in a bank in the same State. They threatened more than 70 officers over phone and demanded money from them, Mr. Ravi Kumar said.

Roads and Buildings (R&B) Deputy Executive Engineer John Viklif of Amudalavalasa paid some amount and Panchayat Raj Engineer (Srikakulam) G.R. Gupta paid ₹50,000. Others who paid amount were Joint Chief Inspector of Factories J. Sivashankar Reddy, Visakhapatnam, (₹5 lakh), Dwaraka Tirumala temple EO R. Prabhakar Rao (₹1.97 lakh), RWS Executive Engineer, Gudivada, Venkateswara Rao (₹3.50 lakh), Motor Vehicle Inspector, Markapuram, K. Ramachandra Rao (₹4.94 lakh).

Similarly, Atmakur RDO P. Umadevi paid ₹55,000, Industrial Chief Inspector, Nellore, (₹2 lakh), Gudur MVI T. Raghava Rao (₹2 lakh), R&B Executive Engineer (Chittoor) G. Chandrashekar (₹1.50 lakh), Palamaneru Municipal Commissioner Vijayasimha Reddy transferred some amount and Kadapa Irrigation Circle Superintending Engineer Ch. Krishna Murthy paid ₹1 lakh to the fake ACB gang.

Lapses found

“We verified the track record of the officers who paid the amount. During surprise checks, ACB officials noticed that the officers have not inspected the offices of their subordinates, not update the records, not verified the bills and resorted to some irregularities. A report will be sent to the government on the observations,” Mr. Ravi Kumar said.

The imposters collected the names and phones numbers of the officers through various internet and social media groups, called them over phone and demanded money failing which action would be taken against them. The accused collected the amount online, Mr. Gangadhar said and appealed to the officers to alert the local police or the ACB officers, if they receive any threatening calls.

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