15 more held in businessman kidnapping case

Fifteen more persons were arrested on Sunday in connection with the kidnapping of businessman K. Praveen Rao and his two brothers.

This takes the total number of accused arrested in the sensational kidnapping case to 19, including Andhra Pradesh’s former minister Bhuma Akhila Priya Reddy.

However, prime suspects Madala Srinivas Rao Chowdary alias Guntur Srinu, Akhila Priya’s husband M. Bhargav Ram Naidu, his brother Chandrahas Naidu, mother Kiran Mai Naidu, and the former minister’s brother Bhuma Jagat Vikhyat Reddy, continue to be at large. Over 30 people were listed in the case as accused.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, City Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said that Akhila Priya had ‘narrated’ the sequence of the offence during her police custody, which ended on Thursday, and based on her confession new facts had cropped up and more persons were named as accused.

Mr. Kumar said that Madala Siddhartha (29), an event manager and a close accomplice Guntur Srinu, from Nandigama, Andhra Pradesh, who was arrested on Sunday provided manpower to execute the kidnap.

“He arranged 20 persons and a four-wheeler for execution of the offence and they were staying at a hotel at Kukatpally. Guntur Srinu promised to pay ₹5 lakh to Siddhartha and ₹25,000 to each person,” the city police chief said.

On the evening of January 5, K. Praveen, and his brothers Sunil Rao and Naveen Rao, were abducted by the gang, after they entered the victims’ house at Bowenpally in the guise of I-T officers.

Further disclosing the fresh findings in the case, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Kalmeshwar Shingenavar said that Akhila Priya along with her husband and others held meetings at her residence at Lodha Apartments, KPHB Colony, and at MGM School, Yousufguda, on January 2 and January 4 to discuss the offence.

Fugitive Guntur Srinu took the body measurements of 20 persons, who stayed at the hotel, to get them formal clothes as they impersonated I-T and police officials.

On the day of offence, all accused gathered at MGM School, Yousufguda, where they were briefed by Bhargav Ram about the execution of their plan in the guise of I-T and police officers, he said and that the accused also possessed a toy pistol.

“The victims were taken to Bhargav Ram’s guest house at Moinabad where they were forced to sign on a bunch of plain and written stamp papers, while they were being assaulted by the sticks,” Mr. Shingenavar said.

“After noticing the efforts being made by the police to rescue the three brothers, the accused released them on the same night near Sun City and fled,” the officer added.

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