CMRF cheques theft: Ex-Health min Harish Rao’s data entry operator, 3 others held

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: The Jubilee Hills police arrested Naresh, a data entry operator in the former health minister Harish Rao’s camp office, along with three others, in connection with the theft of Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) cheques, on Wednesday, March 27.

The arrest comes following a complaint filed by Patloth Ravi Nayak, a farmer from Peerla Thanda, Abenda, Medak. Nayak recounted an incident from November 2022 when his wife, Lalitha Bai, succumbed to a snake bite while working in their fields.

Despite extensive efforts to save her life, including treatment at Balaji Hospital in Sangareddy and later at Wellness Hospital in Ameerpet, Hyderabad, she passed away on November 6, 2022.

Nayak incurred significant expenses amounting to Rs. 5 lakhs during his wife’s medical treatment.

Struggling with the financial burden, Nayak applied for assistance from the CM Relief Fund in January 2023. However, despite repeated attempts to ascertain the status of his application, he received no response.

It was only recently, after visiting the TS Secretariat and inquiring about the CMRF, that Nayak discovered two cheques, amounting to Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 37,500 respectively, had been issued in his name.

Further investigation revealed that Naresh Kumar, a contract-based data entry operator at the former health minister’s office, was responsible for disbursing these cheques to beneficiaries on behalf of the state government.

Nayak alleged that despite his efforts to retrieve the cheques, Naresh Kumar failed to provide a satisfactory response. It was later revealed that Naresh Kumar had handed over the cheques to Korlapati Vamshi, a car driver, and Balagoni Venkatesh Goud, an attender at the Assembly, allegedly in exchange for a commission.

With the assistance of Omkar from Godavarikhani, Vamshi and Venkatesh encashed Nayak’s cheques at the SBI Road No.5 Jubilee Hills Branch without his knowledge.

Nayak learned that several other beneficiaries had suffered similar fates, prompting him to file a complaint with the police.

Based on Nayak’s complaint, a case has been registered under sections 417, 419, 420, 120(b) read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code, as well as sections 66(B) and 66(C) of the Information Technology Act.

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