Police in Telangana have arrested six persons in connection with the killing of a 23-year-old Dalit man allegedly over an inter-caste marriage, The News Minute reported on Tuesday. The man’s father-in-law Maruthi Rao, who was earlier detained for questioning, was among those arrested.
Perumalla Pranay was hacked to death on September 14 in front of his pregnant wife Amrutha, who belongs to an upper-caste family, while they were leaving a hospital in Nalgonda district. The couple had eloped and got married in January as Amrutha’s family was against the relationship. A day after the murder, Amrutha blamed her father for the killing.
Maruthi Rao’s brother Sravan and the suspected contract killer Subhash Sharma were among those arrested. Sharma was detained in Bihar’s Samastipur district on Monday and brought to Telangana. Mohammed Bari, who was allegedly a mediator between Maruthi Rao and Sharma, was also arrested, as was Rao’s friend and local Congress leader Abdul Karim. The Congress has suspended Karim as the president of the Miryalaguda town unit, reported The Times of India. Maruthi Rao’s driver Shiva was also arrested.
Bari was acquitted in 2010 in a case related to the murder of former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya in 2003.
Nalgonda Superintendent of Police AV Ranganath told news channel NTV that Sharma was identified based on closed-circuit television footage, reported The News Minute.
“The murder plot began in June-July,” Ranganath was quoted as saying. “Asgar and Bari met in Auto Nagar and met Karim and Maruthi Rao. They sat in a car and spoke and began brokering for the deal. The demand first was for Rs 2.5 crore but they settled for Rs 1 crore. They asked Rs 50 lakh as advance but they settled on Rs 15 lakh. The same day, the first part of advance Rs 15 lakh was paid and they showed Pranay’s house to Bari and Asgar.”
The accused have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal conspiracy, and also under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, according to The News Minute.
Ranganath had earlier told The Hindu that he had warned Rao, an influential realtor in the area, against troubling the couple.