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An accused in the theft of human hair from the Simhachalam temple was arrested on Sunday evening and ₹4.50 lakh cash was recovered from his possession. It may be recalled that human hair, valued at ₹7.50 lakh, was stolen from the temple on Feb 14, 2016.

P. Rambabu (47) of Madhepalli village in Eluru district used to participate in the auction of hair at various temples in the State along with his farrether since childhood. They used to sell the hair to big businessmen at higher prices.

He continued the business of his father. In course of time, he befriended Ch. Jampanna of Bhadrachalam in Kothagudem district and they used to visit various temples together and participate in the auction of human hair at those places. They got habituated to cricket betting and other vices and lost heavily in their business, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crimes) T. Ravi Kumar Murthy told the media here on Monday.

They decided to steal human hair from tonsure halls at the temples to tide over their losses. They stole human hair from the Kanipakam temple (Chittoor district) in Jan 2016 and from the Simhachalam temple a month later. Mr. Murthy said the accused had reached the Simhachalam hill top three days prior to the actual theft.

They could not commit the crime the same day as a wedding party was on and there were people moving all around the place all through the night. On Feb 14 night, they broke the grills of the tonsure room, where the hair was kept and stole 10 bags of human hair.

The DCP (Crimes) appreciated the good work done by Gopalapatnam CI K. Vykunta Rao, Harbour CI Ch. Rajula Naidu, Gopalapatnam SI I. Gopi, Head Constable B. Appa Rao and Constables T. Durga Rao and B. Demudu Naidu and Home Guard Ch. Srinu of Gopalapatnam Police Station in arresting the prime accused.

The other accused Jampanna and two other accused are yet to be arrested and the remaining ₹3 lakh has to be recovered from them.

Joint Commissioner of Police A.S. Khan, Additional DCP (Crime) Varadarajulu, ACP (North) V. Bhima Rao were present.