Andhra Pradesh ex-Minister arrested in kidnap case


Akhila Priya, ex-official arrested for role in kidnap of ex-hockey player Praveen, brothers

Andhra Pradesh’s former minister Bhuma Akhila Priya Reddy and former AP Seeds Corporation chairman AV Subba Reddy were arrested by the Hyderabad police on Wednesday for their involvement in the kidnap of former national hockey player Praveen Rao and his brothers.

While Akhila Priya was taken into custody from her residence at Kukatpally in the wee hours, Subba Reddy a close confidante of former MP Bhuma Nagi Reddy, father of the former, was picked up at Madhapur later in the evening. However, Akhila Priya’s husband Bhargav Ram is at large, Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar said.

He said the victims, Praveen Rao, Naveen Rao and Sunil Rao were involved in a dispute pertaining to 25 acres of land located at Hafeezpet with the accused persons.

According to Mr. Kumar, around 7.20 p.m. on Tuesday, a group of 10 people claiming to be Income Tax officials barged into the victim’s house at Manovikas Nagar, Bowenpally, and started questioning them. One of them was wearing a police uniform.

Soon, they locked women and children in a room on pretext of search and interrogation, while the victims were confined to the hall.

An hour later, Sunil’s wife Sarita, who was in the neighbour’s house, returned home and found that other inmates were locked in a room.

As the three brothers were missing, the family members started looking at the CCTV footage and realised that it was not an IT search and that the brothers were whisked away in three different cars, the officer said. The kidnappers also took their laptops, and mobile phones.

Soon the police swung into action, verified the details and alerted their counterparts in Cyberabad and Rachakonda commissionerates. Even the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh was informed about the offence, as the investigators assumed the kidnapper might take the victims to Kurnool district.

“As there were several checkposts and tight vigil across the city, the accused could not take them anywhere and around 3.30 a.m. they released Praveen Rao, Sunil Rao and Naveen Rao, in Kokapet-Narsingi area on the outskirts of Hyderabad,” Mr. Kumar said, adding that the safety of the victims was their top priority. “They were rescued and brought home safely,” he said.

The trio were at a farmhouse near Moinabad, where the kidnappers forced them to sign some documents.

Efforts are on to arrest the absconding accused persons, who reportedly hail from Allagadda and other places in Kurnool district, the officer said. Some of the accused, who barged into Raos residence were identified as Srinivas Choudary alias Guntur Srinu, Sai, Chanti and Prakash.

Based on the complaint lodged by one of the family members Katakaneni Manish, the police have arrested Akhila Priya and Subba Reddy, Mr. Kumar said, and added that later they found that the former tourism minister and her husband had planned and executed the kidnap.

Further narrating details of the land dispute, the city police chief said that in 2016, Praveen Rao and one of his six brothers had purchased 25 acres of land near Hafeezpet.

As there were some issues on the land, which were mediated by Subba Reddy with the assistance of late Bhuma Nagi Reddy. After the issue got resolved, an understanding was reached between Praveen and Subba Reddy, he said. However, Subba Reddy did not honour the terms of the understanding with Nagi Reddy and after the death of the latter, Akhila Priya and her sister Mounika approached Praveen for their share in the land.

When Praveen infomed the Bhuma sisters about his transactions with Subba Reddy, Akhila Priya started threatening him, Mr. Kumar said.

“Settling for the share in the land, Akhila Priya and her husband hatched a conspiracy and kidnapped the victims with the help of henchmen,” Mr. Kumar added.

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