MUMBAI: A former Ranji cricketer from Andhra Pradesh has been arrested by city’s cyber police for allegedly conning a corporate house in a vishing (voice phishing) case.
The accused, Nagaraju Budumuru, (28), allegedly posed as an aide of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy and asked the corporate house to sponsor emerging cricketers from the state —to con them of money.
Budumuru represented Andhra Pradesh in Ranji Trophy between 2014 and 2016. He was also a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team in IPL, and India B team from 2016 to 2018. Police say after his cricketing career nosedived in 2018, he took to cheating to keep up with the luxurious lifestyle, he had grown used to.
Budumuru had reached out to a city business house introducing himself as Nageshwar Reddy, the personal assistant of AP chief minister. He also told the company representatives that he was seeking sponsorship for cricketer Ricky Bhui.
He had also emailed a bunch of forged documents to establish his identity and association with the National Cricket Academy, convincing the company to forward ₹12 lakh as sponsorship money. After a few weeks of not hearing back from the “cricket board”, the company representatives lodged a complaint against the unknown conman in January.
Dr Balsing Rajput, DCP (cyber-crime), said, “After receiving the complaint, our team began tracking the money that was supposed to be given as sponsorship. The money trail pointed out to Budumuru. We nabbed him from his native place — Yavaripetta in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh earlier this week.”
Out of the ₹12 lakh that was transferred into the account provided to the complainant by the accused, the police were able to freeze an amount of ₹7,66,000 spread over different accounts.
An MBA graduate, Budumuru had a great start to his career. In 2016, he even attempted to enter the Guinness Book of Records for longest net session by an individual batsman.
Police officials said that after 2018, Budumuru’s cricket career took a nosedive and he started missing the luxurious lifestyle. Since then, he has allegedly cheated at least 60 companies to the tune of ₹3 crore. He has targeted business houses primarily in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. He was arrested in at least 10 cases earlier.
“When he stopped doing well on the field after 2018, he started missing the luxurious lifestyle that he had become used to. That was his primary motive behind conning people under various pretexts,” said an official from the cyber police.
In his social media posts, Budumuru is seen in luxurious hotel rooms, swimming pools, on board airplanes and other such spots.
In previous instances, Budumuru has impersonated as the assistant of AP minister KT Rama Rao, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief selector MSK Prasad and even former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.