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AP: Man arrested for killing 10 people in 20 months with cyanide-laced 'prasadam'

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The Andhra Pradesh Police have arrested one man who allegedly killed 10 people within 20 months, by giving them cyanide-laced 'prasadam' (holy offering).

According to Eluru police, the accused, Vellanki Simhadri was arrested on Tuesday. Police have also arrested one Sheik Aminullah from Vijayawada, who used to supply cyanide to Simhadri.

He hails from Venkatapuram village in West Godavari district and he has resorted to the killings in East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna districts between February 2018 and October 2019.

"Simhadri used to work as a watchman and he had also suffered losses in real estate business. He then started cheating people with claims of possessing supernatural powers. He used to con people on the pretext of revealing details about hidden treasures, perform special pujas to get rid of problems or to provide medicines that can cure long-term diseases," said Navdeep Singh Grewal, Superintendent of Police (SP), West Godavari district.

"People who fell in his trap used to visit him with a huge amount of cash and gold. After convincing the victims completely, Simhadri used to give cyanide-laced prasadam to them. Moments after eating the prasad they would collapse and Simhadri used to escape the spot after looting their money and gold," he added.

Police discovered that Simhadri's victims included his own relatives as well.

"He killed his grandmother on the pretext of giving her medicine for diabetes and later he looted three sovereigns of gold. He also killed his sister-in-law by luring her to double her money. He looted Rs 5 lakh and 20 sovereigns of gold from her," said Grewal.

At last, the accused got caught after killing a PT teacher, K Nagaraju.

"Simhadri trapped Nagaraju by offering a coin having supernatural powers at a cheap price. On October 16 Simhadri poisoned Nagaraju near Vatluru and looted Rs 2 lakh and four gold ornaments from him. Locals saw Nagaraju in an unconscious state and rushed him to the hospital where he lost his life," said Grewal.

Nagaraju's family members then filed a police complaint after learning that his gold and cash was missing.

Eluru police caught Simhadri after analyzing his call data and call tower signal data during the investigation of the murder cases.

Police during the investigation discovered that out of the 10 murder cases, only four cases have been registered.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Wed, November 06 2019. 13:59 IST