Hyderabad: A dramatic night that began with a fake Income Tax raid followed by the kidnap of a former badminton player and his brothers on Tuesday took a twist by Wednesday afternoon with the arrest of Andhra Pradesh Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya and one more person. At least 15 more persons are suspected to be involved in the entire episode.
According to Hyderabad City Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar, around 8 pm on Tuesday, around 10-15 persons reached former badminton player and businessman Praveen Rao’s residence in Bowenpally posing as officials of the Income Tax Department. The men were dressed in formal wear and had identity cards as well.
Pretending to conduct a search in the house, the men separated Rao and his brothers Sunil Rao and Naveen Rao and confined the rest of the family in another room. They left the house with the three in different cars. The family came to know that they had left only after an hour when a neighbour, suspicious of the late activity, came to check. They then dialled 100 and alerted the local police, who rushed the spot, soon to be followed by senior officials including the Commissioner.
During preliminary investigation, it was found that one AV Subba Reddy, Akhila Priya and her husband along with others had planned the kidnapping following a dispute over a property at Hafeezpet.
“We formed 15 teams to trace the vehicles. Check-posts were set up at various places and footage from surveillance cameras were examined,” Anjani Kumar said, adding that the police across the State were alerted apart from the Andhra Pradesh Police.
“With the police close on their heels, the kidnappers dropped the three brothers at Kokapet in Narsingi around 3.30 am and escaped. After contacting them over the phone, the police ensured that the three reached home safely,” he said.
The Commissioner said Mahesh, the complainant and a relative of Rao, had named Akhila Priya and others in his complaint. While the former Minister and Subba Reddy were arrested, the other suspects, including Bhargav Ram, were absconding, Anjani Kumar said, adding that there was a dispute between Subba Reddy and Rao over a piece of land at Hafeezpet, with Rao lodging a complaint with the Cyberabad Police last year against Reddy.
The police were verifying reports that the kidnappers had confined Rao and his brothers in a farmhouse and forced them to sign some documents. “Further investigation is on and more arrests will be made,” the Commissioner said.
On the other hand, Akhila Priya told the media while being escorted away by the police that her family was not connected to the case.