Nalgonda: The Nalgonda police have arrested seven persons, including the alleged killer of Perumalla Pranay Kumar, who was brutally murdered in broad daylight at Miryalaguda on September 14. The honour killing of Pranay Kumar, in front of his wife Amrutha Varshini, had triggered an outrage across the country.
Those arrested in connection with the murder are Tirunagari Maruthi Rao (52), Amrutha Varshini’s father, Subash Kumar alias Sharma (32), a native of Singpur in Bihar State who carried out the murder, Azgar Ali (40) and Md Abdul Bari, both residents of Nalgonda town and suspected to have been involved in some terror activities, Miryalaguda Town Congress president Abdul Kareem (49), Maruthi Rao’s brother Sravan Kumar (45) and Samudrala Shiva (31), Maruthi Rao’s driver. Subash Kumar has been identified as the person who attacked Pranay Kumar with a machette outside Jyothi hospital in Miryalaguda.
Pranay killed in fourth attempt: Cops
Except Subash Kumar, the police presented all the other accused in the case before the media in Nalgonda. Subash Kumar is being shifted to Nalgonda after producing him before a court in Bihar where he was arrested.
Briefing the media, Superintendent of Police AV Ranganath said Maruthi Rao was totally against his daughter marrying Pranay, who belongs to SC community, and had hatched the plan to kill him. Maruthi Rao belongs to Vysya community and is a rich man based in Miryalaguda.
Nalgonda SP AV Ranganath, explaining the sequence of events leading to the honour killing, said Pranay Kumar and Amrutha Varshini were friends since Class nine and had fallen in love. The two got married on January 30 at Arya Samaj Bhavan in Hyderabad against Maruthi Rao’s wishes and returned to their native place Miryalaguda after a few days. They discontinued their engineering courses at a college in Hyderabad due to the circumstances arising out of their move. The plan to kill Pranay Kumar began in June when Maruthi Rao spoke to Md Abdul Bari over phone seeking help for a contract killing. The two informed Mohammed Kareem about the plan in July and since then, Kareem played the role of a mediator between Maruthi Rao and Abdul Bari.
Abdul Bari also sought the help of his friend Azgar Ali to hatch the plan to kill Pranay. Later, Azgar Ali, Abdul Bari, Maruthi Rao and Kareem met at Auto Nagar in Miryalaguda town and discussed the deal. Abdul Bari demanded Rs 2.5 crore to kill Pranay, but after some bargaining, the deal was struck at Rs 1 crore. The same day, Azgar Ali and Abdul Bari were shown Pranay’s house in Miryalaguda. On July 9, Kareem handed over Rs 15 lakh to Abdul Bari near Ramoji Film City on the outskirts of Hyderabad as advance. From the amount, Rs 8 lakh was taken by Abdul Bari, Rs 6 lakh by Azgar and Rs 1 lakh by Kareem. Kareem used the money to get treatment for an illness at a hospital in Hyderabad.
Abdul Bari hired Subash Kumar, whom he had met in Rajamundry Central jail a few years ago, to kill Pranay. When Bari was in Rajahmundry Central jail, Subash was also in the same jail in a robbery case.
Abdul Bari and Azgar Ali bought a two-wheeler with fake registration numbers to carry out the crime. They also bought three SIM cards with fake address proofs and purchased three mobile instruments. Later, they started the efforts to kill Pranay. Pranay was murdered by the hired killer in the fourth attempt.
Ranganath said the hired killer did a recce of Pranay’s house on July 9 and made the first attempt on July 14, when Pranay, Amrutha Varshini and his brother Ajay went to a beauty parlour in Miryalaguda town on some work. Subash, Azgar and Bari planned to kill them, but they had to abort it when they couldn’t identify Pranay among the two youths. In the second attempt, Subash went to the house of Pranay on August 22 and asked Pranay’s father Balaswamy about renting a car. When the family members grew suspicious, he fled the place.
On September 1, the gang made another attempt to kidnap and kill Pranay, for which they engaged four youths from Hyderabad city. But after realising they were alcoholics, Azagar Ali didn’t proceed with the plan. On September 14, Azgar Ali and Subash followed the car in which Pranay and Amrutha Varshini were travelling to Jyothi hospital for general check up as she was five months pregnant. Azgar Ali stopped at a place near the hospital, and waited till Subash carried out the murder. Azgar Ali personally monitored the movements to kill Pranay while Abdul Bari kept in touch with Maruthi Rao.
Escape on Scooty
After the killing, Azgar Ali and Subash escaped on the Scooty and reached Nalgonda through Thripuraram and Nagarjuna Sagar. Later, Subash went to his native place via Bengaluru.
The SP said the arrests were made in different places, and that Subash was being brought to Nalgonda from Bihar on transit warrant and may reach Nalgonda on Tuesday night.
SP admits lapses in surveillance
Though Azgar Ali and Mohammed Abdul Bari were found moving suspiciously on several occasions in the district, the police failed to sense any danger and failed to prevent the horrific murder of Dalit youth Pranay Kumar.
Along with Subash Kumar, Azgar Ali and Abdul Bari visited Miryalaguda and Nalgonda many times in July, August and September.
Accepting that there were lapses in surveillance, Superintendent of Police A V Ranganath said that they will look into the reasons for the lapses in surveillance and rectify them.
Subash Kumar, who attacked Pranay with a machete, visited Miryalaguda to execute the plan, but never stayed in the town. He used to stay in hotels in Nalgonda, Chityal and other places. “We have examined the call data records of the accused. As per preliminary inquiry, there was no involvement of any politician in Pranay’s killing,” Ranganath said.
On the alleged role of former Nakrekal MLA Vemula Veeresham in the case, he said that they will question Veeresham.
Stating that the episode should not be politicised, he clarified that the incident occurred purely due to Maruthi Rao’s personal reasons. “Though Maruthi Rao joined TRS a few months back and Kareem was a Congress leader, there is no political angle in the murder,” he said.
Media reports foiled accused’s actual plan
The actual plan of Tirunagari Maruthi Rao, the main accused in the murder of his son-in-law Perumalla Pranay Kumar, was foiled with the investigative reports published in newspapers and telecast on news channels.
According to Superintendent of Police AV Ranganath, Maruthi Rao’s plan was on the lines of the movie ‘Dhrushyam’. To show that he was not present in Miryalaguda at the time of the murder, Maruthi Rao came to the District Collectorate in Nalgonda pretending that he had work with the Joint Collector at the office. On his way to Nalgonda, Maruthi Rao saw Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Miryalaguda in Vemulapally and stopped his vehicle there to have a chat with him so as to create an impression that he was not present in the town on the day.
The actual plan was that Maruthi Rao and Subash Kumar alias Sharma must surrender before the media after the incident. When TV channels telecast the news suspecting the role of Abdul Bari, he switched off his cellphone. This resulted in communication being cut off between Azgar Ali and Abdul Bari. Azgar Ali then suggested Subash to visit his native place as it was dangerous to stay in the State, thus foiling the actual plan of the accused.