In a shocking series of events – once again a case of online gaming addiction led to the death of two people. The addict, a youngster from the city of Hyderabad was arrested for killing his mother and sister to overcome his financial problems arising from losses in cricket betting. The accused, Pally Sainath Reddy, who was studying MTech and working for a private firm, mixed pesticide in their food. His sister Pally Anuja Reddy, 22, and mother Pally Sunitha, 44, died undergoing treatment.

He had a solids alibi of being at work when his mother and sister fell sick, so there was no reason for doubt of foul play. While explaining to his family members, he made up a story that both of them had food poisoning. On hearing this his relatives became suspicious and alerted the police. Following this, police questioned him and he admitted to having killed both of them. DCP Balanagar PV Padmaja said they arrested Sainath Reddy on Monday and sent him to judicial remand.

Sainath was studying M Tech at a reputed college in the city, while his mother, P Sunitha, worked for a private firm, and his sister, P Anuja Reddy, was a B Pharmacy student. According to police, Sainath’s father Prabhakar Reddy had died three years ago in a road accident and his savings and insurance amount, which was about Rs 20 lakh, was deposited in a bank account of Sunitha. However, Sainath, who wanted to lead a lavish life, started betting on cricket matches.

Initially, he spent his own money on betting. But after coming to know that the insurance amount received after his father’s death was in his mother’s bank account, he withdrew the amount and spent it on betting. He also stole his mother’s jewellery and spent the money from selling them on betting. He had also availed loans through mobile apps and invested in cricket betting. Further, he also borrowed money from several persons for cricket betting and spending on luxuries. On the whole, he had spent around Rs 25 lakh on cricket betting, due to which he landed in a financial crisis. As pressure started mounting on Sainath from money lenders, who threatened to send notices to his house and contact his family members, he decided to kill his mother and sister, so that he would become the sole owner of the family property, which he can dispose of, clear the debts and lead a happy life.

Various online betting apps are now available in India: source

According to the plan, Sainath purchased pesticide at Medchal and mixed it in the rice at home on November 23. To avoid any suspicion on himself, he also packed lunch and went to a vehicle showroom at Rajabollarum, where he has been doing part-time work. In the night, Sainath returned home after receiving phone calls from Sunitha saying they were not well. He shifted them to a local hospital and from there they were transferred to Gandhi Hospital. While undergoing treatment at Gandhi Hospital, Anusha succumbed on November 27 and Sunitha on November 28. “Relatives expressed doubts over the behavior of Sainath as he was unable to pay bills at the private hospital. During the interrogation, Sainath confessed to having committed the murders to prevent his mother from knowing about the debts and clear his way to dispose of the small piece of family land,” the inspector said to the Times of India.

Online gaming addiction is becoming a recurring problem in digitalizing India. Multiple cases have been reported from across the country where teenage kids have accessed their parents’ cards and bank accounts to use lakhs of money and sometimes their parents’/grandparents’ entire life savings to spend on online gaming. Every day one or the other new app comes up on Play Store and with apps like Dream11 and various others being advertised by eminent cricketers themselves, more people have started betting on games, getting addicted, and finally taking extreme steps when they finally realize the trouble they are in. There is no doubt that the Cyber department and Ministry of Information need to bring in regulations that see to it that apps that ask for real money are banned from being accessed.

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