Two held for murder of RTI activist

Accused hired a shooter after suffering losses due to victim’s complaints

Two persons were arrested on Monday by the Mumbai Crime Branch in connection with the murder of a Right to Information activist in Telangana earlier this year. The accused had hired a contract killer to eliminate the activist after his complaints against their spurious toddy business caused them huge losses.

Podeti Satyanarayana Goud (51) was shot dead outside a toddy centre in Jagtial district of Telangana on May 9. The police arrested a shooter from West Bengal. His interrogation revealed that Goud had filed RTI applications about the number of authorised toddy centres in Telangana and Mumbai, and filed complaints with the Excise Department, alleging they were selling toddy of spurious quality.

A team of the Telangana police had, after the shooter’s arrest, visited Mumbai in May, and tried to apprehend the shooter’s paymasters. However, the accused were constantly changing their locations and could not be apprehended. “We had, since then, been on the lookout for them,” an officer with the Unit I of the Crime Branch said. “The duo hail from Telangana and own toddy centres in their home town, neighbouring districts, and Mumbai. Following Goud’s complaint, the Excise Department cracked down on all the toddy centres named by him, of which around 150 were in Mumbai. Almost all of them were shut down, causing huge losses to the accused. They had been bringing pressure on Goud to stop filing complaints, but he refused, the officer said.

The duo, along with some other toddy dealers, hired the killer and then had one last meeting with Goud, a day before his murder. They once again tried to convince Goud, who stayed adamant, and the next day, he was shot dead. The contract killer Raju Bhayya, who arrived in Dharmapuri and killed Goud by opening fire from his country-made 9 mm pistol from a close range.

Last week, the Crime Branch received a tip-off about two of the toddy dealers allegedly involved in Goud’s murder. On Monday, Yelimeti Rajeshwar (56) in Bandra and Kasarappu Rajaiah (51) in Jogeshwari were picked up.

A team from Dharmapuri police station in Telangana on Monday reached the city and obtained transit remand of the two accused, after which they were taken to Dharmapuri, Crime Branch officers said. Another accused, number nine Akula Madhu Goud of Jagtial district is absconding.

After the murder of Satyanarayana Goud, the Dharmapuri police registered a case number 70/18 against 13 persons and arrested 10 persons including the killer hailing from Kolkata Raju Bhayya alias Raja Bhayya on May 25 in Mancherial and recovered country-made 9 mm pistol. He is currently lodged in Karimnagar district jail.

Initially, the police nabbed the shooter in Mancherial on May 25 and based on his confession arrested 10 persons in Jagtial, Dharmapuri and other locations. Freshly, with the arrest of two other accused in Mumbai, the total arrests have gone up to 12 and only one person Akula Madhu Goud is absconding. The police are confident of nabbing him very soon.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:50:35 AM |

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