Telangana Police on Friday arrested the fourth accused in the gruesome murder of an advocate couple in the Ramagundam town of Peddapalli district.
The accused Bittu Srinu, is a key conspirator in the double murder and also the nephew of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader and Peddapalli Zilla Parishad Chairman Putta Madhu.
Srinu is the fourth accused to be arrested in connection with the murder of Gattu Vaman Rao and his wife Nagamani, who were the practicing lawyers at the Telangana High Court.
According to the police, Bittu Srinu had provided his car and sickles to the assailants for the killings.
The couple, who were returning to Hyderabad from Manthani, were waylaid and brutally hacked to death in full public view by the assailants.
The crime which was caught on camera was committed near Kalwacherla village in Peddapalli district on Wednesday.
Before succumbing to his wounds, Vaman Rao had taken Kunta Srinivas’s name as the accused.
The police on Thursday arrested three accused, including Kunta Srinivas, TRS President of Manthani mandal unit.
Hours before his arrest, TRS announced his suspension from the party.
Srinivas and S. Chiranjeevi were picked up near Wankidi in Maharashtra while the third accused Akkapaka Kumar was held in Manthani.
While Kumar kept tab on Vaman Rao’s movement in Srinivas’ car, the latter and Chiranjeevi used the car and weapons given by Bittu Srinu in committing the crime.
According to police, Chiranjeevi drove the car while Srinivas sat beside him. On learning that Rao was returning to Hyderabad after appearing in a court in connection with a case, the duo rushed onto Manthani-Peddapalli-Hyderabad road.
They lay in wait near Kalwacherla village at a spot where all vehicles had to slow down due to road repair work. As soon as the advocate couple’s car reached there, Chiranjeevi rammed the SUV from a side. When Srinivas broke the windscreen in Rao’s car, the scared driver fled the spot.
Fearing danger to their lives, Rao sat into the driver seat and tried to zoom when Srinu dragged him out and started attacking him with a sickle. Chiranjeevi attacked Nagamani, who was sitting on the rear seat, with the sickle.
Srinivas and Chiranjeevi then inflicted multiple injuries on Rao who was lying on the road even as passers-by watched in horror.
The duo then fled the spot and drove to Sundilla barrage where they threw sickles into the water, changed their blood stained clothes and headed towards Maharashtra.
While the slain lawyer’s father raised doubts that politically influential persons are behind this double murder, police claimed that they did not find any political motive behind the murders.
According to police, Srinivas bore a grudge against Rao as the latter had filed few cases against him in connection with land disputes relating to local temples.
The gruesome murders shocked the entire state and triggered an outrage by lawyers, who boycotted the courts on Thursday, demanding immediate arrest of the guilty.
The High Court took suo moto cognizance of the double murder and directed the Telangana government to conduct thorough investigation and submit a status report by March 1.