Action likely on police officials

As the public outrage intensified against the murder of Bethala Kanthasuneela while she was protecting her daughter from being harassed by a gang outside a bar, police widened the dragnet and arrested Ummalaneni Nagaraju (25), son of U. Janaki Ramachandra Rao, former Vice-Chairman of Tenali Municipality late on Tuesday evening.

“Preliminary investigation has revealed him to be an abettor of the crime perpetrated by those under the influence of alcohol. We have included Nagaraju’s name and will decide the future course of action once the detailed investigation is completed,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police-Tenali, V. Tulasi Ram Prasad.

The seven people arrested thus far are Nuthala Subramaniyam, Mopidevi Ramu, Samudrala Pavan Kumar, Sk. Jaffar, Maddala Karthik, Dasari Pratap and Garapati Vinod Kumar. They now face charges under Section 302 IPC (murder), 354 (outraging the modesty of woman), 509 (teasing) and SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act).

The police action comes close on the heels of a vociferous agitation by Dalit Associations demanding stringent punishment to the accused. A.P. Dalit Maha Sabha convener Katti Padma Rao staged a sit in protest in front of the victim’s house at Nazarpet.

As the pressure grew, there were reports of that the Deputy Superintendent of Police-Tenali V. Tulasi Ram and Circle Inspector Kamalakara Rao could be suspended pending enquiry. Also, a departmental enquiry was on, to ascertain whether the Sub-Inspector on duty was present or not.

Meanwhile, a Sub Inspector attached to the Three Town Police Station, K. Sambasiva Rao, who has been accused by the victim’s family of turning a deaf ear to the pleas made while the accused were assaulting, denied that he was present when the attack took place. “I was driving towards the DSP’s office when I saw a group of people standing on the road. I saw that a girl was holding the body of her mother. A lone constable was there trying to place the body in an ambulance. I helped him and later alerted the S.I, One Town,” he said.