The Mumbai Crime Branch caught up with an absconding fraudster wanted by four southern states but let him off, even though their investigations firmly established his frequent run-ins with the law.
Sukesh V Chandrashekhar Reddy, an accused wanted by the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana police in a total of 13 criminal cases, was arrested by the Crime Branch Unit 8 on April 22. Incidentally, Reddy and his girlfriend, Malyalam actor Leena Maria Paul, have allegedly duped more than 100 persons in south India by posing as close relatives of top politicos.
According to the documents in MiD DAY’s possession, officials of Unit 8 received a tip-off that the accused was to visit Bandstand for striking a deal for his Mercedes E-55 car on April 22. The officials lay in wait and, around 2.10 pm, arrested four persons, including Reddy, from Bandstand. They were taken to the Unit’s Andheri office.
During investigations, the accused were identified as Reddy alias Balaji (23), Hemant Kirit Shah (24), Kunal Vinay Shah (23) and Manav Sohanprakash Singhal (25). Reddy told cops that he had gone to Bandra to sell his Mercedes to a party, and confessed that he has been booked in forgery and cheating cases by Chetpet police station, Chennai, Omchikulam police station, Madurai, the Coimbatore crime branch, and several police stations in Bangalore.
The officials then summoned Reddy’s lawyer (name withheld by MiD DAY) to their office. He confirmed that cheating cases have been registered against Reddy in Bangalore and Chennai. He also said his client had not got anticipatory bail in any of the cases.
After acquiring all the details of Reddy’s criminal past and conducting a thorough enquiry, the Crime Branch officers, however, let the four walk away. “Have Crime Branch officials taken any surety bond? Without seeing court order papers, Reddy was let off,” said a lawyer who is familiar with the case.
Sources even alleged that Reddy had bribed the officials with Rs 15 lakh through a hotelier. Alok Kumar, joint commissioner of police (crime), Bangalore, confirmed, “Reddy is wanted in 11 cases in Bangalore. Some arrest warrants are pending against him.”
On May 28, in a joint operation of Delhi and Chennai police, Reddy’s girlfriend Leena, 25, was arrested from a south Delhi farmhouse in a case registered against the duo under sections 420 (cheating), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 406 (breach of trust). Nine posh cars and 81 expensive wrist watches were recovered from them. Reddy was present at the farmhouse but fled when he got wind of the cops.
The other side
Despite repeated attempts, top crime branch officials were not available for comment. Deputy Commissioner of Police SN Chaudhary, spokesperson for Mumbai police, said, “Let me check. I am not aware of the incident.”