Hyderabad police on Monday arrested three more accused in last week’s sensational kidnap of three businessmen while a city court rejected the bail petition of former Andhra Pradesh minister Bhuma Akhila Priya, who is the main accused in the case.
A Secunderabad court rejected her bail petition after Chanchalguda prison authorities submitted a report on her health status.
The court also sent her to police custody for three days. The police had sought seven-day custody but the court granted her custody only for three days.
Businessman Praveen Rao and his two brothers were kidnapped from their residence in Bowenpally by a group of 10 persons, who posed themselves as income tax officials. The trio was let off by the accused in the early hours of January 6.
Hours later, police arrested Akhila Priya from her residence at Kukatpally. Another accused in the case A.V. Subba Reddy was arrested the same day.
According to police, the incident is linked to a dispute over 25 acres of land at Hafeezpet in Hyderabad. Praveen Rao had reportedly purchased the land in 2016 with the help of Subba Reddy who took the assistance of Bhuma Nagi Reddy, a former MP, and father of Akhil Priya who died in 2017. Akhila Priya later approached Praveen for a share after differences with Subba Reddy.
Meanwhile, police arrested three more accused and claimed to have gathered more evidence against Akhila Priya. The arrested include a personal assistant of Akhila Priya and an aide of her husband Bhargava Ram, an accused in the case who is still absconding.
Boya Sampath Kumar, the personal assistant of Akhila Priya, Nagaradoddi Mallikarjuna Reddy, personal assistant of Bhargava Ram and Dorllu Balachennaiah, all residents of Kurnool and Anantapur districts of Andhra Pradesh were apprehended by the sleuths of Commissioner’s Task Force teams along with Bowenpally police.
“During the investigation, it is established that Bhuma Akhila Priya planned and executed the crime along with Bhargava Ram, Guntur Srinu, and other accomplices in order to grab the land or extort money from the victims,” Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said.
He told reporters that police seized items used in the commission of offense including three mobile phones and fake number plates.
According to police, on the instruction of Akhila Priya and her accomplice, Mallikarjuna Reddy purchased six SIM cards and six new mobile phones.
One SIM card was allocated to Akhila Priya, two cards to another accused Guntur Srinu, and the remaining SIM cards were used by their accomplices.
On January 5 when the offense was committed, Akhila Priya used the SIM card while traveling from Vijayawada to Hyderabad and communicated with accused persons from her residence at Kukatpally till the early hours of January 6.
According to police, Guntur Srinu and Bhargava Ram were continuously receiving instructions from Akhila Priya on their mobile phones. One of the kidnappers using a temporary number called Akhila Priya on her regular contact number at 10.42 p.m. on January 5. Later, using the same number kidnappers made the victims call to Deputy Commissioner of Police North zone to communicate their safety at 1.09 a.m. on January 6.
Sampath Kumar confessed before police that in the direction of Akhila Priya, he conducted recce along with Bala Chennaiah on a bike with fake number plate at the residence of victims at Bowenpally and gave information to Bhargava Ram and Guntur Srinu about the presence of victims at the residence.
On January 5, all accused started from Akhila Priya’s apartment in Kukatpally and gathered at MGM School, Yousufguda, which belongs to Bhargava Ram on five four-wheelers and two two-wheelers. They replaced the original number plates of the vehicles with fake ones.