The police arrested four persons - A. Brahma Reddy, I. Nagendra Babu, D. Veeranjaneyulu and P. Gopi who were accused of murdering journalist L. Prakash at Pedakakani on May 6. The search is on for three more accused.

Producing them before the media here on Thursday, Superintendent of Police (urban) A. Ravi Krishna said Brahma Reddy had decided to eliminate Prakash due to his alleged interference in a financial dispute with N. Hanumeswara Rao of Kurnuthala village in Vatticherukuru mandal.

Hanumeswara Rao owed Rs. 25 lakh to Brahma Reddy but the latter tried to avoid repayment with the support of Prakash. Besides, a private chit fund company served a notice to Brahma Reddy seeking to auction his house after Hanumeswara Rao to whom he gave surety, failed to clear his dues.

Brahma Reddy claimed that Prakash threatened him with dire consequences if he did not give up a court case filed for securing his dues from Hanumeswara Rao.

As the pressure mounted from Prakash, Brahma Reddy fled to Hyderabad where he stayed for some time.

Unable to bear the torture any further, Brahma Reddy decided to eliminate Prakash believing that Hanumeswara Rao would then keep his commitments.

Brahma Reddy offered Rs. 5 lakh to Nagendra Babu and others for killing Prakash and they put their plan to action on May 6 near Pallalamma Cheruvu in Pedakakani.

Prakash was returning home around 11.30 p.m. when he was brutally attacked with an axe and sickles. He died on the spot. A sum of Rs. 1.10 lakh was paid to the assailants for completing the job.