A farmer, Kamakshaiah, 50, of Sathambedu village of Varadaiahpalem mandal of the district, was crushed to death when a tractor carrying sand hit him.

The Varadaiahpalem police said that the farmer was on night vigil in the fields. Around 3.00 a.m. on Tuesday, a villager from the neighbouring Mittakandriga village was driving the tractor on the edge of the fields to prevent damage to the paddy crop. Kamakshaiah, in a drunken state, ran towards the tractor and was crushed to death. The villager, identified as Giri, abandoned the vehicle and fled the scene but later, the police arrested him.

The police denied rumours that the sand mafia had murdered the farmer when he tried to stop the vehicle carrying sand. “There is no river or rivulet which has sand deposits in the mandal. There is no question of the presence of sand mafia,” the Varadaiahpalem SI told The Hindu .