Tirupati: A different breed of criminals is on the prowl in secluded areas on the outskirts of Tirupati city. They target unmarried lovers, who meet in such hidden spots, and film their private moments. Later, the gang members blackmail them and threaten to expose their affair.
City police stumbled on this racket that has been operating for the past few months in Peruru, Thanapalli and Chiguruvada besides areas close to the national highway between Tiruchanoor and Chandragiri.
The authorities have no idea about the number of victims as most of them did not approach them, fearing social stigma. The police came across up to five such cases during their investigation.
One such incident was reported under the Muthyala Reddy Palle division police limits on November 3, when two men identified as Akula Ganesh (20) and V. Prasanna Kumar (34) allegedly blackmailed an unmarried couple by threatening to take them to police station if they refused to part with money.
The complainant had gone with her female friend to a secluded spot on the outskirts. The accused accosted them posing as police officers. When the lovebirds admitted that they were not married but were in a relationship, the accused demanded money.
"The victim stated that the accused had demanded money if things needed to be settled without going to the police station. They took the couple in their bikes to the ATMs and collected Rs 36,000 from them and left them on the outskirts”, West Division DSP B. Narasappa told this newspaper.
Sources said that the victims were initially hesitant to report the matter to police as they feared for their reputation in the society. However, the boy registered the complaint with M.R. Palle police, who immediately swung into action and arrested the accused – Ganesh and Prasanna – Thursday morning. During interrogation, they stated that they had trapped four couples in the last few days.
“Police are facing difficulties in nabbing such accused as victims do not report the incidents. We are appealing to such victims to come forward and report so that the accused can be caught. We will not reveal the names and identity of the victims”, the DSP said....