Using Morphed Photos With Eminent People, Priest In Odisha Dupes People Of Lakhs

Kendrapada: To win their confidence, he would show them “his pictures” with Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Kendrapada MP and actor Anubhav Mohanty and former Kendrapara Collector Samarth Verma, among others. Only, the photographs are morphed.

The trick, however, worked. People believed he had connections in high places, which he took advantage of and duped several people of lakhs of rupees.

The accused, identified as Basudev Panda, is a priest from Dhola village under Nikirai police limits in Kendrapada district. He has allegedly duped several people to the tune of Rs 30 lakh by promising jobs or treatment at reputed hospitals.

Panda is absconding after villagers realised that they have been cheated and filed an FIR against him.

Rabindra Sahu, a villager, alleged that he gave Rs 15 lakh to Panda by selling family jewellery and land after he promised his son a job in the army.

Karunakar Rana, another victim, said he gave the priest Rs 6 lakh for treatment after he took his brother to a hospital and said that he had been diagnosed with blood cancer. Later, Rana said they realised his brother did not have blood cancer.

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