Online gaming claims 5 lives in AP, Telangana in a week: Mother drowns sons, then dies by suicide

Rachakonda police are searching for 3 absconding accused who were booked for abetting Rajeswari to kill her children and die by suicide.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Jun 28, 2023 | 11:07 PM Updated Jun 28, 2023 | 11:07 PM

Online gambling: Avisetti Rajeswari of Choutuppal in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district ended her life after allegedly drowning her two sons in a water sump. (Supplied)

The online gaming industry has been growing rapidly in India, with a reported net worth of ₹280 crore in 2022. And it is expected to nearly double by ₹500 crore by 2025! So have the online gamers-turned-gamblers.

Currently with 45 crore online gamers, the industry is projected to see the number cross 50 crore over the next three years.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu Governor Ravi clears Bill banning online gambling

Of debt and loss

However, as every coin has two sides, so does online gaming. While the market and its consumers are booming, the number of people mired in insurmountable debt and unprecedented loss are also surging.

And these debts and losses are leading to suicides, with at least three in the past five days in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

As recent as Tuesday, 27 June, Avisetti Rajeswari of Choutuppal in Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district ended her life after allegedly drowning her two sons in a water sump. Rajeswari’s children were Anirudh (5) and Harshvardhan (3). Her husband Mallesh is a truck driver.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, Tamil Nadu had banned online gambling with Governor RN Ravi approving the Bill after a lot of push and pull.

Also Read: The dark side of online gaming: Why it is not all fun and games

Harassment over debt’

In the FIR registered by Rajeswari’s mother Jakkula Ramulamma, which South First accessed, she stated that three people, including Rajeswari’s brother-in-law, came to her house around at 6:15 pm on Tuesday in the absence of her husband and other family members.. They demanded repayment of their loan.

“She had already paid them ₹1.5 lakh and another ₹1.4 lakh was to be paid. The loans were of high interest; around 15 percent,” Rajeswari’s uncle Srinivas told South First.

Online games claim 5 lives in Andhra, Telangana in a week: Mother drowns sons, then dies by suicide in Hyderabad

Harshvardhan (3) and Anirudh (5). (Supplied)

He added that the three — Avisetti Srisailam (brother-in-law), Velugu Lalitha, and Velugu Rajeswari — threatened Rajeswari that if she did not repay their loans, they would “lock her inside the house” and take away her goats and cattle.

The Choutuppal police is also investigating Rajeswari’s suicide after she lost money betting on online gaming sites.

“She was introduced to online gaming by her brother-in-law and she might have put the debt money into it,” Srinivas claimed. He appealed that the government should keep a check on online gaming.

“Whatever might be the reason, they shouldn’t have threatened her. She was a mother to two young kids,” he added.

Speaking to South First, Circle Inspector of the Choutuppal police station S Devender said, “The family thinks she might have taken the extreme step after losing the debt money on online games. But we need to confirm it, so we are checking her phone.”

The police has booked the three accused under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code. “Those three are absconding and we are trying to locate them,” CI Devender said.

Also Read: TN: 25-year-old loses ₹5 lakh playing online rummy, ends life

3 suicides in less than a week

Before Rajeswari, two others reportedly died by suicide in two separate incidents in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

In the first incident reported on 6 June, a boy, identified as Sathvik of Andhra Pradesh’s Konaseema district, died by suicide after losing ₹78,000 while playing online rummy. Apparently, his aunt transferred the amount from Dubai for his uncle’s surgery, which he lost.

The second incident took place on 23 June in Telangana’s Warangal district where B Uday Bhaskar, an Industrial Training Institute (ITI) student, reportedly lost ₹46,000 while playing online rummy from his mother’s mobile phone.

Bhaskar was found by his father hanging from the ceiling fan in his bedroom.

Also Read: Karnataka MLA urges ban on marketing by online gaming brands

Tamil Nadu bans online gambling

With at least 40 reported suicides in three years, Tamil Nadu has banned online games such as rummy and poker, along with other online games that involve betting.

The new law will also regulate popular activities like fantasy sports, potentially putting them under the scrutiny of a multi-member committee.

As per the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling Act, 2022, those who indulge in online gambling or online gaming are liable for punishment — imprisonment of up to three months or a fine of ₹5,000, or both.


The new law added that if anyone advertises on any media platform for online

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gaming sites, they will be imprisoned for one year or slapped with a ₹5 lakh fine, or both.

It has also stipulated punishment of imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of ₹10 lakh, or both, for the game provider.

The ban will be imposed in the territory of Tamil Nadu, and internet service providers and mobile network providers were asked to restrict the service of online gaming portals and apps within Tamil Nadu.