A temple priest who duped scores of believers of their gold ornaments landed in police custody on Friday.
The Varkala Police said that the accused was Suresh Potty of Punnamoodu, here who has been serving at the Chandanamariamman Kovil, Perakulam, since 2010.
He earned Rs 13 lakh after pledging around 60 sovereigns of gold over the years, sub-inspector T S Sivaprakash said. The modus operandi of the priest was to collect the ornaments of devotees to be kept in front of the idol for getting favours fulfilled.
“He used to pledge the ornaments and led a luxurious life. The women were told to keep the ornaments till their favours fulfilled and if one asks the jewellery back he would pledge a new devotee’s ornament to take it back,” Sivaprakash said.
The priest who maintained good relations with the locals had succeeded to gain the confidence of women, the police said.
Trouble started after one Radha lodged a complaint with the police alleging the priest of duping 20 sovereigns.
As the news spread 15 others too lodged complaints and the police expects more complainants. The priest had been absconding since December first week and was arrested from Venjarammoodu following a tip off, Sivaprakash said. ENS