East Godavari:Police have busted a fake Maoist gang and arrested three persons for threatening and extorting money from traders in East Godavari.

The accused have been identified as Boda Venkatesh (23), Salkuri Prasad (22), and Kondeti Veerababu (25). While Boda and Saikuri hail from Telangana, Kondeti is from the East Godavari agency.

The accused were operating in Yetapaka Mandal. Their modus operandi included instilling fear and extorting money from traders.

Posing as Maoists, they used to put up threat pamphlets at traders' premises. Unable to endure harassment, traders approached police and sought protection.

Yetapaka police immediately registered three cases. Taking a serious note of the issue, SP Ravindranath Babu constituted two special investigating teams –one headed by Chintur ASP Krishna Kanth and another led by DSP Sunkara Muralimohan.

"SP personally monitored the investigation. During vehicle checking at Nellipaka on Sunday, a special team comprising M Gajendra Kumar, Yetapaka circle inspector, SIs Jawala Sagar, Chinababu, and Ramesh intercepted a motorcycle. When the bikers were asked to stop, they sped away. However, they were caught after a hot chase. During the interrogation, the accused confessed that they were extorting money from businessmen posing as Maoists," police said.

Two Maoist communist party letterheads were recovered from their possession. Police seized a motorcycle, three cell phones, and cash of Rs.2,280. The accused also confessed to have extorted Rs.50,000 from fertilizer traders in Thotapalli and Lakshmipuram villages, police said.

SP Ravindranath Babu has urged people to report to the nearest police station or call on the helpline if they face any harassment or receive threat calls.

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