Telangana Labour Minister Malla Reddy on Tuesday said the man accused of raping and murdering a six-year-old girl in Hyderabad will be killed in an encounter, reported IANS.

“We will definitely arrest him and do an encounter,” Reddy told reporters at an event in Hyderabad.

The girl was raped and killed on September 9 allegedly by the accused, identified as Pallakonda Raju, in Hyderabad’s Saidabad area. A postmortem report from a government hospital had confirmed that she had been raped and strangulated to death.

The girl’s body was found on September 10 in the home of Raju, who is her neighbour, reported NDTV. She had been missing since September 9.

On September 12, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao had said in a tweet that the accused had been apprehended. However, on Tuesday he retracted his tweet and said he was misinformed about the arrest.

“The perpetrator is absconding and [the] Hyderabad City Police has launched a massive manhunt for him,” Rama Rao wrote on Twitter. “Let’s all make our best efforts to ensure he’s nabbed and brought to justice quickly.”

The police have formed 15 teams to find him and announced Rs 10 lakh as reward for information about his whereabouts.

Hyderabad encounter

In December 2019, the police in Hyderabad were accused of extra-judicial killing. Four men accused in the rape and murder case of a 27-year-old veterinarian were shot dead by the police on NH-44 near Hyderabad.

The police had claimed that the accused – Mohammed Areef, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu – attempted to flee while being taken to the murder site to reconstruct the sequence of events. They claimed that the accused allegedly snatched a weapon and fired at the police, forcing the personnel to shoot back.

The National Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International India had warned against extra-judicial killings. Many others, including politicians and the father of the veterinarian had praised the police for their action.

Former Chief Justice of India SA Bobde too had cautioned against extra-judicial killings, saying that justice must never ever take the form of revenge.

In December 2019, the Supreme Court had appointed the three-member inquiry commission to investigate the encounter. In August, the court gave the panel an extension of six months for the third time to submit its final report.