The gunning down of Srinivasa alias Bettanagere Seena by the Bangalore Rural police early Friday may not end the bloody gang wars in Nelamangala that has already claimed nine lives since 2005, police fear.
Seena’s gang, sworn enemies of his cousin Bettangere Shankara who is lodged in the Belgaum jail, could find a new leader in Seena’s nephew Harsha, police suspect.
They expect Harsha, Seena’s right-hand man who took over the business in his uncle’s absence, to take the rivalry to its logical conclusion by going after Shankara’s gang. Harsha went underground immediately after Janata Dal (Secular) leader BML Krishnappa’s murder, allegedly by Seena’s gang, in July.
Under tight wraps
Shockingly, the internecine war has continued unabated right under the nose of the jurisdictional Nelamangala police. A senior officer said the latter was not involved in Friday’s operations for fear of information leaking.
The gang wars date back to 2005 when Seena and Shankara were arrested in connection with the murder of a small-time politician, Balekai Basavaiah.
While the cousins were in jail, Krishnappa helped Shankara secure bail and the two joined hands. This enraged Seena as Krishnappa was a political rival of his brother-in-law Yadala Devi (Harsha’s father).
Police suspected Seena of orchestrating his criminal activities from the Bellary jail and later from Mysore jail, where some inmates, goaded by Shankara, shot at him.
Seena was also charged with a double murder in 2007 — of advocate Devaraj and Krishnamurthy, who had witnessed Balekai Basavaiah’s murder. Devaraj was hacked to death in front of his father, Bylappa, who was then killed, allegedly by Seena’s henchmen, a year later.
Meanwhile, Shankara became a feared extortionist in Seena’s absence. His extortion business flourished as builders who made a beeline to the suburbs, including Nelamangala, paid him protection money. Yadala Devi alias Devaraj, Seena’s brother-in-law, was murdered in 2009. Six months later, Harsha and others allegedly attacked Krishnappa, who survived.
The same year, a small-time land dealer Lohit Gowda was hacked to death near the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail, and the police suspected the hand of Seena.
Advocate Ravi Kumar, who helped Harsha become a gram panchayat member, was hacked to death in July 2010. As on December 2011, Seena had 11 criminal cases pending against him. Despite this, he got bail every time as terrified witnesses turned hostile, police said.