Hyderabad: The Moinabad police on Sunday arrested a former air hostess and her husband for blackmailing and threatening a priest and attempting to extort money from him ostensibly to bolster their struggling business.
The official said that the accused couple, Manchikala Vijay Kumar, 30, and his wife Kanishka, 23, had given the pastor a spiked soft drink. When he became unconscious, they took pictures of him in compromising positions. They then tried to extort money from him by threatening him with a toy pistol.
Police said Kumar owns the V Hotel at Gachibowli. The victim, 58, preaches at churches in and around the city. Kanishka, claiming to be the owner of seven hotels in the city, approached the priest and requested him to pray for her as she was suffering from ill-health.
She pretended to take the priest into confidence, telling him that he is of her father’s age.
Police said Kanishka also took him on an outing to a resort at Adibatla and to the movies. At all times, she took pictures with the priest and he did not suspect that anything was amiss.
Some days later, the police official said, Kanishka told the priest that she had got a franchise from an American fast-food restaurant for which she had bid `1.5 crore at an auction. She told the priest that she was running short of money and borrowed `10 lakh, the police official said.
She then invited the priest to a resort for dinner where she reportedly offered him apple juice laced with sedatives.
The priest had the juice and fell unconscious. When he woke up, the priest told the police, he found himself in a bathtub.
It later transpired that the woman had taken pictures with him in compromising positions, according to the complaint.
Some time later, Vijay Kumar barged into the room, accused the priest of trying to get intimate with Kanishka and threatened to kill the priest. He brandished a pistol, which later turned out to be a toy, and took the priest’s signature on a bond paper stating that he owes the couple `1 crore. The couple then sent the priest away.
Worried about his pictures being publicised, the priest paid `10 lakh to the couple but they demanded more. That is when he went to the Moinabad police and lodged a complaint.
Based on his complaint, the police booked cases against the couple under Indian Penal Code Sections 420 (cheating), 384 (punishment for extortion), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 323 (punishment for causing hurt) r/w 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and Section 25 (1) B of the Arms Act (possession of weapons of prohibited bore). Following investigations, Vijay Kumar and Kanishka were arrested and remanded to judicial custody.
A toy pistol, bond papers, six cellphones, a bottle of artificial blood, a passport and a car were seized from the couple, the police official said.