Hyderabad: The police on Thursday arrested Kunta Srinivas (44) and his associates Ch Chiranjeevi (35) and A Kumar (44) at Wamkindi and Chandrapur on the Telangana-Maharashtra border on Thursday morning in connection with the brutal murder of lawyer couple Gattu Vamana Rao and Nagamani.
IG (North Zone) Y Nagi Reddy, addressing a press conference in Ramagundam, said enmity between Vamana Rao and Srinivas for the last five years following a dispute over a temple management committee resulted in the brutal incident on Wednesday afternoon. Srinivas bore a grudge against Rao for frequently approaching the police and court against him. Both Srinivas and Rao belong to Ganjapadugu where a dispute was brewing over the new management committee of Sri Rama Swamy and Gopal Swamy temple, he said.
Rao had the construction of a house and Sri Peddamma Temple by Srinivas stopped because of previous enmity, Nagi Reddy said. With his aide Bittu Srinu also agreeing to assist him, Srinivas decided to eliminate Rao.
On coming to know that Rao had come to Manthani court on Wednesday, Srinivas decided to kill him on the advocate’s return journey to Hyderabad and took the assistance of Chiranjeevi. Bittu Srinu lent his car along with two tender coconut cutting knives to Kumar and started providing information about Rao’s movements, the IG said.
Srinivas lay in wait at Manthani crossroads when he came to know that the couple was heading towards Peddapalli. Srinivas felt that Rao’s car would have to slow down because of road repair works on the village outskirts under Ramagiri police station limits.
Once Rao reached the area, Srinivas stopped the vehicle and smashed the windscreen. On seeing this, Rao’s driver Satish panicked and ran away. Rao then tried to take the wheels but Srinivas pulled him out and attacked him. At the same time, Chiranjeevi came from the other side and attacked Nagamani.
After attacking Nagamani, Chiranjeevi helped Srinivas in attacking Rao with passers-by capturing the murder on mobile cameras. When passers-by asked Rao about the attackers, he revealed the name of Srinivas and another person.
After killing the couple, both Srinivas and Chiranjeevi went to Sundilla barrage and threw the knives in it before escaping towards Maharashtra after changing their clothes. Chiranjeevi assisted Srinivas because the latter had helped him and his family when they got infected with coronavirus.
Nagi Reddy said a detailed probe is still on and the arrested persons would be questioned again after taking them into police custody. “We will not spare anyone directly or indirectly involved in the case,” he said, and requested those who shot the video or clicked photographs of the incident to help the police with investigation.
Police said the prime accused was a member of Sikasa in 1997, and was also involved in a case related to burning of a bus.
Court takes up case Suo moto
The two Judge Bench of the Telangana High Court comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy, taking suo moto cognisance of the ghastly double murder, said ‘the incident has shaken us all from our stupor’. The Bench directed that a proper investigation be held into the matter. The Bar Council of India and the State Human Rights Commission also condemned the couple’s murder.
Meanwhile, the TRS has suspended its Manthani mandal president Kunta Srinivas from the party as he is one of the suspects in the murders. The suspension will come into effect immediately, TRS general secretary M Srinivas Reddy said.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.