In a brutal daylight murder, a lawyer couple was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants in broad daylight in the Peddapalli district of Telangana, on Wednesday afternoon.
The couple Gattu Vamana Rao (55) and his wife Nagamani (50), both advocates practicing in the Telangana High Court were stabbed multiple times by the assailants around 2.30 PM, while they were returning to Hyderabad after attending a court case in Manthani Mandal.
A video clip of Vamana Rao lying in a pool of blood on the road went viral. Although, the couple was shifted to a hospital in Peddapalli; however, they died on the way. The couple does not have any children.
During his last moments, Vaman Rao had reportedly named a local TRS leader, Kunta Srinivas, as being responsible for the attack. According to the sources, Kunta Srinivas is the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) Manthani’s Mandal president. Reportedly, the police are yet to confirm if Vaman named the same person.
Meanwhile, Ramagundam Police Commissioner V Satyanarayana said six special teams were formed to track down the assailants. Stating that he was confident of arresting the culprits soon, he said all the details, including the motive, would be known only after the arrest of the accused. “They will be caught irrespective of their connections with people in high positions,” he said.
According to the eyewitness, the assailants, who were waiting in a car near the spot, attacked the vehicle when the driver slowed down at a speed-breaker on the outskirts of Kalwacherala, about 16 km from Manthani Mandal in Peddapalli district of Telangana. While one assailant broke the windowpane to open the door, the panic-stricken driver ran away. Subsequently, the assailants brutally stabbed the couple several times with machetes, before fleeing from the spot.
While Nagamani was trapped in the vehicle and succumbed to her injuries on the spot, Vamana Rao came out of the car and fell on the ground. He requested the passers-by to call for an ambulance. When they asked him about the assailants, he was heard mentioning the name of a Kunta Srinivas.
Vaman Rao died on the way to the hospital. The car driver who reportedly fled from the spot is now in police custody for investigation.
The Motive Behind Attack
As per sources, an old rivalry could be one of the reasons for the double murder, since the deceased couple was involved in some controversial cases. Besides filing a disproportionate assets case against Zilla Parishad Chairman Putta Madhukar, they had also filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the alleged custodial death case of Sheelam Rangaiah.
The lawyer couple had filed a PIL about the alleged custodial death of a 53-year-old Dalit man, Seelam Rangaiah, in Manthani police station under Ramagundam Police Commissionerate. Rangaiah was arrested last year for allegedly hunting wild animals and was found hanging in the toilet of the police station.
Based on the PIL filed by Nagamani, the High Court instructed Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar to probe the case and submit a report. Later, police led by Manthani CI Akunuri Mahender collected blood samples from the murder spot.
In September last year, the lawyer couple had moved Telangana High Court complaining that the police were harassing and threatening them after they filed the above PIL over alleged custodial death.
Subsequently, the HC had earlier this month extended protection to the couple after the couple had alleged that they were being harassed with false cases as they had taken up the case, sources stated. The matter was to be heard in April.
Outrage Over The Attack
The Bar Council of Telangana State, Bar Association of Ranga Reddy District, City Civil Court, Hyderabad, City Civil Court, Secunderabad, and Metropolitan Criminal Court Nampally have condemned the brutal daylight attack on advocates G Vaman Rao and G Nagamani on Wednesday.
The Associations unanimously decided to abstain from work on Thursday in protest against the brutal attack. Demanding immediate arrest of all the persons involved in the brutal murder, expeditious trial, and punishment to the accused, the associations also demanded the State and Central governments to bring an enactment for protection of advocates against such heinous incidents.
“The country has been witnessing frequent attacks on advocates,” asserted the Associations.
On the other hand, while condemning the murder, both BJP and Congress demanded a high-level probe into it.