By Express News Service

ONGOLE: Prakasam district police on Friday arrested two temple treasure hunters for breaking into Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple in Tarlupadu.

The accused were identified as Duru Vajrala Babu (30) and Nallur Ravi (34) of Pedapudi village in Amruthalur mandal of Guntur district.

They broke the temple’s kalasam on October 17 in search of treasures. Following the break-in, temple executive officer E Chennakesava Reddy lodged a complaint with the police.

Prakasam Superintendent of Police Siddharth Kaushal formed three teams to nab the thieves. The cops verified the crime records in Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore districts and juxtaposed all the photographs with the images gathered from the CCTV footage to identify the culprits. Acting on a tip-off, police arrested the duo near the railway station on Cumbum Road. 

During interrogation, the two accused said that they came in touch with Shiva Prasad and a priest named Ramakrishnachari from Hyderabad. Later, they formed a team to loot treasures in temples. “The accused are of the belief that if they worship and dig in old temples, they will find treasures and diamonds. With that belief and the encouragement of the above two, the accused broke into the temple,” said a police official. Police launched a manhunt to nab two other accused. It is learnt that Vajrala Babu was earlier accused in a murder case.

Tight security at temples

The Prakasam district police installed over 1,400 CCTV cameras in all the temples, set up committees with volunteers, women police and village elders.

As many as 4,455 suspects were bound over to prevent crime in the district.

“We have taken all security measures for the protection of temples,” the SP said

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