The police recovered Rs 2.01 crore in cash, gold and vehicles from the gang. Sridhar Reddy saw himself making it big in local politics, and had reportedly spent money on the YSRC.
The gang led by Sridhar Reddy had stolen the money from the Scientific Security Management Service, which replenishes cash in SBI ATMs. It had also murdered one of its own members, Pouruju Srinivas, who was office incharge of the SSMS Rajahmundry unit, on June 23, when the gang stole bagsful of cash.
According to the police, Sridhar Reddy, his relative Gujju Prasad Reddy and Pouroju Srinivas pilfered money from the SSMS vaults in Rajahmundry and Kakinada over a period of time.
Urban SP T. Ravi Kumar Murthy told the media on Tuesday that Sridhar Reddy had spent the money on YSRC. Sources said Sridhar Reddy had also paid to buy banners and flexiboards during the padayatra of YSRC leader Sharmila.
The banners had pictures of YSRC president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and YSR and were prominently displayed during Sharmila’s padayatra.
YSRC: Sridhar joined us 4 months ago
Police said the first inkling of trouble came when SBI officials did an audit of the cash in the SSMS vaults. They reportedly tried to fake a robbery by killing the security guard at the Rajahmundry office. Sridhar Reddy and the two other men purchased a pistol and two magazines in Kolkata.
On June 23, Sridhar Reddy and three others — Seerapu Srinu, Kadali Veera Venkateswara Rao and Gujju Kurma Reddy — conspired to kill Pouroju Srinivas, fearing that he may spill the beans. They inflicted superficial injuries on his body with a razor, causing him to bleed and later they hanged him.
They intended it to be seen as a suicide. They then stole Rs 58 lakh from the SSMS vault. Police said Prasad spent the money to visit Kolkata, New Delhi, Darjeeling and Bangkok. He fell in love with a girl, Jaswinder Kaur, a cabaret dancer, and the two planned to get married.
The other accused in the case are Davarsingh Lakshman Kumar, Kurumella Rajesh, Nandika Jagdish Kumar, Dasari Satyanarayana Murthy, Pilaka Dilip Reddy, Bathula Hema Nagaraju and Gujju Prasad Reddy.
Police recovered cash worth Rs 74.71 lakh, 633 gm of gold ornaments worth Rs 15.82 lakh, three cars and nine bikes worth Rs 15.32 lakh and documents related to properties worth Rs 95.76 lakh.
Ravi Kumar Murthy ruled out the connivance of the bank staff. He announced rewards for the cops who had nabbed the culprits.
Reacting to the arrests, Dwarampudi Chandrasekhar Reddy, former MLA and an aide of YSRC chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, said that Sridhar Reddy had joined the party just four months ago, and that he was just an activist. “As we did not know about him, we wanted him to work for the party. He met me only twice. When some of his supporters wanted me to give him a ticket to contest as a corporator, I told them to wait.”