HYDERABAD: A 50-year-old self-styled godman along with his associate have been arrested by Miyapur police on Saturday for allegedly cheating the public and collecting money from them on the pretext of treating COVID-19 with his pooja at Hafeezpet here. The incident came to light when one of the victims approached police.
The accused has been identified as Md Ismail. Miyapur police said that he was cheating people by making them believe that he is capable of curing COVID-19 and other ailments with his pooja.
Police booked cases against Ismail under Section 420 of Indian Penal Code and under relevant sections of the Epidemic Act for violating several lockdown rules like maintaining physical distance.
According to police, Md Ismail called himself as 'Corona Baba' and started collecting Rs 12,000 per person for claiming to cure coronavirus with his pooja.
Police said Ismail had created a WhatsApp group with the name ‘Hafeezpet Darbar’ where all the regular updates about their pooja were shared with people.
Miyapur police said that the accused has been detained for questioning.
Police raided the dargah premises on Saturday after they received a complaint from one of the victims. During the raid, police found a gathering of several people near the Dargah to meet 'Corona baba' for consultation.
Police have taken him into custody, and during investigation it was revealed that Ismail had been cheating the public in the name of prayers for the past four years. The accused was in a habit of performing prayers every Friday, where people joined in large numbers for the prayers, police said.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ismail began claiming that he is capable of curing COVID-19 without any medicines. People who came to know about this started to visit him to get treated for COVID-19.