Telangana Police on Thursday arrested three persons including a leader of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in connection with the gruesome murder of an advocate couple.
Kunta Srinivas, the main accused and President of the ruling party's Manthani mandal unit, was among the arrested.
Inspector General of Police (North Zone) Y. Nagi Reddy announced the arrests on Thursday night. Chiranjeevi and Akkapaka Kumar are the two other accused taken into custody.
A few hours before the police official announced the arrests, the TRS suspended Srinivas from the party with immediate effect.
Srinivas and Chiranjeevi were arrested between Wankedi and Chandrapur in Maharashtra.
After committing the crime, the assailants reached Sundilla barrage, threw the sickles used in the murders, into the irrigation project and changed their blood-stained clothes before leaving for Maharashtra.
Gattu Vamana Rao and his wife Nagamani, who were practicing at Telangana High Court, were waylaid and stabbed indiscriminately by assailants, who came in a SUV, near Kalwacheral in Peddapalli district.
The couple was returning in a car to Hyderabad after appearing for a case in a local court at Manthani.
Videos which went viral on social media show Vamana Rao (53) and Nagamani (50) being repeatedly stabbed by two persons on the road.
Before succumbing to his injuries, Vamana Rao spelled out the name of Kunta Srinivas.
On a complaint by Vamana Rao's father, police registered a case against Srinivas and others.
While the slain lawyer's father alleged that politically influential persons are behind this double murder, police claimed that they did not come across any political motives behind the murder.
According to police, Srinivas was earlier a member of Sikasa, an affiliated organisation of CPI-Maoist.
The IG said that Srinivas told them that he has had disputes with Vamana Rao for the last five years. The advocate was fighting cases against Srinivas in connection with issues related to a local temple.
The gruesome murders shocked the entire state and triggered outrage among lawyers, who boycotted the courts on Thursday, demanding immediate arrest of the guilty.
The High Court took suo moto cognisance of the double murder and directed the government to conduct thorough investigation and submit a status report by March 1.
The entire legal fraternity in Telangana was up in arms after a High Court lawyer couple were brutally hacked to death in broad day light in Ramgundam district.
52-year-old senior lawyer G Vaman Rao and his wife 46-year-old Nagamani were hacked to death by unknown assailants when they were travelling from Manthani town to Hyderabad.
The barbaric murder on a high way watched by a large number of people including passengers of two Road Transport Corporation has sent waves of shock and anger in the state.
While Telangana State High Court has taken a suo-moto cognizance of the incident and issued a notice to the state government seeking a report, the lawyers’ community boycotted all the courts including the High Court and the district courts across the state as a mark of protest.
A large number of lawyers organized road-block in Hyderabad demanding action against the guilty, another group of High Court lawyers marched towards the Raj Bhavan to meet the state governor.
Ramagundam district superintendent of police Satyanarayana said that apparently it was handiwork of hired professional killers. “Six police teams have been formed to nab the killers”, he said.
Before succumbing to his injuries in Peddapally hospital Vaman Rao told the people that Manthani Mandal president of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti party K Srinivas was responsible for attack on him.
In the FIR police have named three suspects V Vasanantha Rao, K Srinivas and Akka Paka Kumar. Victim’s father has also named P Lachaiah and Zilla Parishad Chairperson P Madhu as suspects.
While police have detained ten suspects, the S P said that the main suspect Srinivas was absconding.
Kishan Rao alleged that Lachaiah had also undertake reconnaissance before the attack took place. According to the police the assailants chased Vaman Rao’s car and stopped it at Kalvacheral village on Manthani-Hyderabad road.
The assailants first broke the glass panes of the car with coconut-cutters and dragged Vaman Rao out of the car. After repeatedly hacking him on the neck and other parts of the body, the assailants targeted his frightened wife sitting in the car and hacked her with the sharp edged weapons.
After the killers escaped from the spot, the local people came close to the seriously injured Vaman Rao. Some of them made a video of his dying declaration that K Srinivas responsible for attack on him.
Both husband and wife were rushed to the nearest hospital but both of them succumbed.
A division bench of Telangana High Court headed by Chief Justice Hima Kohli strongly condemned the killing of the lawyers and issued a notice to the state government. Chief Justice said that the brutal murder was a challenge to the credibility of the state government and the police. She asked the government to submit a report before the next hearing on March 1.
Telangana High Court Bar Association also strongly condemned the incident and held the police responsible for the incident. They pointed out tat Vaman Rao had met the SP recently and demanded proper security for him fearing threat to his life. The Bar Association has also asked all the lawyers not to defend the accused in the murder case.
The couple was highly popular among the needy section as they would take up their cases free of charge. They were also in the forefront in exposing the wrong doings of the politicians especially in matters of land encroachments and violation of rights.
They had also received death threats many times. They had also approached the state Human Rights Commission and the Chief Justice of High Court seeking their help to ensure their safety.