In a gruesome incident, three grandchildren of a Congress leader Shanigaram Raghupathi Reddy were killed allegedly by one of their close relatives on the outskirts of the town late last night, police said. The suspected assailant, Narendar Reddy, is also believed to have ended his life.

The half-burnt bodies of Siri (9), Akshaya (6) and Kushi (4) were found at an isolated place near a private engineering college on the town. It was not clear whether they were burnt alive or killed and later their bodies burnt. Police shifted the bodies to the Government hospital for autopsy. The victims are the children of Ganga Reddy, Sai Reddy and Raji Reddy respectively.

The ghastly crime that sent shivers down the spines of many people and a pall of gloom descended on Gangastan locality, where the three children were living. Their parents have been crying inconsolably and a large number of relatives and friends have been visiting the colony to express their sympathies.

Police suspect that the involvement of Narendar Reddy in the brutal crime as the car he used for taking the children, his footwear and a watch were found on the Godavari bridge. A search was on to trace him, according to Deputy SP, S. Anil Kumar.

The 35-year-old Narender Reddy,a close relative of the children used to live in Raghupati Redy’s house after his parents died. Belonging to Dhoopally village of Renjal mandal Raghupathi’s sons and their families came to Nizamabad yesterday to attend a wedding. After Sai Reddy’s wife fell sick and was hospitalised. Finding that there were no elders at home Narender Reddy is stated have taken away the children. He reportedly told some relatives that he was taking them to the hospital. He had also called Raghupathi Reddy and told him that children were with him.

The motive for this act was not yet established.