Hyderabad: Nothing like the promise of hidden treasure to get even the sceptics drooling. Playing on this emotion, crooks posing as godmen or babas are gaining admission to the homes of the gullible in the Old City, promising they will unearth the treasure of the Nizams hidden there!
V. Satyanarayana, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) south zone said, “These fake babas have adopted new techniques of looting people. In a recent case, a baba informed the people of the house that they have the treasures of the Nizam in their house and made them dig a 20-foot deep hole in the house. When nothing was found, he put some lemons, needles and threads in the pit, and to do this he charged them around Rs 10,000. These fake babas keep extracting money from people in this way.”
The man was arrested and the police are searching for more people like him. This racket was busted a few months ago and police are investigating whether it has become active again.
It is not difficult to take advantage of poor people who are worried that they don’t have enough money for survival. The victims are mostly daily workers like rickshaw drivers, street vendors, and shop owners etc, said Yaseen Ali, a resident of Edi Bazaar. Sometimes even the educated are lured by thoughts of great riches.
Mr Ali says that these crooks posing as babas have come up with all kinds of ploys to make money, like promising young boys that they can get married to the girl of their choice, and now they have come up with this new one of promising to find hidden treasure in their homes.
Fear is the key for many frauds
The belief that those calling themselves gurus can solve problems has led to many disasters. Indians are so awed by anyone claiming to have spiritual powers, that any smart talking ‘baba’ can extract money from them.
Take the case of Abdul Samad, owner of a textile shop in Charminar. His business was running up losses and he was a worried man. To pull him out of depression, his friend Mohammed Khaled promised that his life would change if he visited a baba near Fateh Darwaza.
Mr Samad agreed and became yet another victim of a fake baba who kept on extracting money from him. “A year passed but nothing changed. The business was still the same; in fact, I was more debt ridden because whatever I was earning was being spent on baba. One day I realised he was doing nothing but only extracting money from me,” Mr Samad said narrating his sorry tale.
Psychologist Sailaja Pisapati says these crooks trap people with their honeyed words and “exploit their depression and stress to extract money. Also, the religious faith of a person plays an important role.”
A person who is depressed doesn't think clearly and tends to behave irrationally and this is what the babas count on.
“If a person starts believing that things are not going in his favour and he is surrounded by negative energy from everywhere, and is also not ready to face the daily challenges of life, then the misguidance by fake babas will spoil his life,” the psychologist pointed out.