Hyderabad: The Hyderabad police on Wednesday arrested Andhra Pradesh ex-minister Bhooma Akhila Priya for the kidnapping of former badminton player Praveen Rao and his two brothers in a land dispute.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader was arrested from her residence in Kukatpally hours after the victims were released by the kidnappers on the city outskirts after they were left with no escape route.
Police were on the lookout for Akhila Priya’s husband Bhargav Ram and main accused A. V. Subba Reddy, a TDP leader and former chairman of AP Seeds Corporation.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar told reporters that Subba Reddy is the number one accused in the case while Akhila Priya is A2 and her husband is A3.
The names of a few others also cropped up during investigations but they are all absconding. Police have sent teams to the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh to trace them. The accused conspired, planned and executed the kidnappings.
Praveen Rao, Sunil Rao and Naveen Rao, who are relatives of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s personal assistant, were kidnapped on Tuesday night from their residence here by a group of people posing as income tax officers.
The three brothers were kidnapped in filmi style from their residence in Bowenpally in Secunderabad. The kidnappers came to their house and introduced themselves as income tax officials. They even produced fake search warrants.
According to police, the accused whisked away Praveen Rao and his two brothers after locking the other family members in a room.
The Commissioner said the police received the information at 8.10 p.m. and immediately police in all three commissionerates were alerted. More than 15 teams were constituted to trace and the kidnapped persons.
During the investigation, police learnt that the vehicles used by the accused had fake registration number plates.
“The criminals realized that they were left with no avenue to escape and they released the three persons at Narsingi Kokapet around 3.30 a.m.,” he said.
As the kidnapped persons switched on their phones after their release, police could trace the location and helped them return home.
Stating that the sensational case was solved in three hours, the police commissioner said the police will not tolerate such organised crimes in Telangana.
“This is a warning to all criminals. The law of the land is firm in Telangana and we will not tolerate what was happening earlier,” he said.
The police commissioner said there was a dispute between the two sides over a piece of land in Hafeezpet and last year Praveen Rao had lodged a police complaint against Subba Reddy for tresspassing and intimidation.
Praveen Rao had reportedly purchased 25 acres of land in 2016 with the help of Subba Reddy who took the assistance of Bhuma Nagi Reddy, a former MP and father of Akhila Priya, who died in 2017. Akhila Priya later approached Praveen for a share after differences with Subba Reddy.
Praveen’s brother Pratap Rao, a lawyer living in Mahabubnagar, told reporters that they contacted him over the phone after ‘IT officials’ reached their home. Pratap Rao, who was monitoring CCTV footage from his mobile phone, said since they produced the search warrants and identity cards, he asked his brothers to cooperate in the search.
Pratap Rao said after 15-20 minutes the CCTV cameras were switched off and when he tried to contact his brothers they were not reachable. He grew suspicious and contacted the income tax authorities, who clarified that the department was not conducting any search. He informed family friends MP Maloth Kavitha and state minister Sriniva Goud, who alerted the top police officials.
An alert was sounded in Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda police commissionerates. Police in all districts of Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh were also alerted.
According to Pratap Rao, his brothers were blindfolded by the kidnappers.
Praveen Rao and his brothers returned home early morning. Pratap Rao said they provided information to police about those whom they suspected to be involved in the kidnapping.
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