The Telangana High Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of the murder of a lawyer couple near Hyderabad, reported Live Law. Advocates Gattu Vaman Rao and his wife PV Nagamani, who had earlier complained of harassment in connection to the public interest litigations filed by them, were stabbed multiple times by some unidentified men in broad daylight on Wednesday.
The incident took place in Peddapalli district around 2.30 pm when two assailants intercepted the couple’s car. They attacked the lawyer couple with knives and other sharp weapons, said the police. A police team took Rao and his wife to a hospital, but they succumbed to their injuries, Ramagundam Commissioner of Police V Satyanarayana told PTI.
In September, the couple had moved the High Court alleging that the police were harassing and threatening them after they filed a public interest litigation against the alleged custodial death of a Dalit man in Manthani police station, which is under the Ramagundam police commissionerate. Earlier this month, the Telangana High Court had extended protection to the lawyer couple.
Rao’s driver was left unharmed. He has been taken into custody for questioning, reported The News Minute.
The murder was caught on camera as some passers-by filmed a video of Rao lying on the road. Rao’s family members alleged that a local leader of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi was behind the attack. Before dying, Rao also named a person – Kunta Srinivas – whom he said was responsible for the attack. The police are yet to confirm if the man is a TRS leader.
Six special police teams have been formed to find the assailants. The police commissioner said the preliminary investigation revealed that the two attackers professional killers. A murder case has been registered after Rao’s father filed a complaint. No arrests have been made yet.
Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident. State BJP President and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar asked for an inquiry by a sitting High Court judge and blamed “TRS goondas” for the murder. Telangana Congress President and MP N Uttam Reddy demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
State Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali also condemned the attack. “This is being viewed very seriously by the government,” he said. “The culprits will soon be brought to book and dealt with, as per the law.”
The Telangana Bar Council condemned the incident and demanded that the police arrest the culprits soon. “The country is witnessing frequent attacks on advocates and that no person can take Law into hands and resort to illegal activities and that the matter shall be dealt with as per the law,” it said in a statement. It has also asked the Government to enact Advocates Protection Act to safeguard the advocate community.