Lawyer couple hacked to death in Telangana's Peddapalli; victim names local TRS leader minutes before death

The lawyer couple had moved Telangana High Court in September last year complaining that the police were harassing and threatening them after they filed a PIL over alleged custodial death of a man

Press Trust of India February 17, 2021 23:23:32 IST
Lawyer couple hacked to death in Telangana's Peddapalli; victim names local TRS leader minutes before death

Representational image. AFP

A lawyer couple was stabbed to death by unidentified assailants in broad daylight in Peddapalli district on Wednesday, Police said. During his last moments, Gattu Vaman Rao reportedly named a local TRS leader as being responsible for the attack.

Home Minister Mohd Mahmood Ali said the incident was highly condemnable. "This is being viewed very seriously by the government.  The culprits will soon be brought to book and dealt with, as per the law," he said in a statement.

Rao and his wife, both practicing lawyers in the Telangana High Court, were travelling in a car when two assailants intercepted and attacked them using knives and
other sharp weapons near a village in Ramagiri Mandal, around 2.30 pm, they said. A police team which rushed to the spot on getting information, took them to a hospital, but they succumbed to injuries, Ramagundam Commissioner of Police V Satyanarayana told PTI.

The Commissioner said preliminary investigation revealed that the duo were professional killers. He said six special teams have been formed to nab the assailants and that some people had been detained on suspicion. Rao's family members alleged that a local leader of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi was behind the attack.

The couple had also moved the High Court in September 2020, complaining that police were harassing and threatening them after they wrote a letter (which was taken up as PIL) to it over alleged custodial death of a man, they said. They had also filed PILs on various public issues in different courts, including the High Court.
Asked about the family's charges, the Commissioner said Rao had not filed any complaint about a threat to his life.

Some passers-by filmed a video of Rao lying on the road and reportedly naming the leader, which went viral. The car driver, who was not the regular employee of the
couple and was left unharmed, also reportedly corroborated what Rao had said. Rao's father filed a complaint, based on which a murder case has been registered, police said.

The lawyer was in his native place Manthani on Wednesday to file a petition in a court in connection with a dispute over construction of a temple, his family members said. Some TV channels showed visuals of Rao lying on the road in a pool of blood and his wife in the car.

Another video doing the rounds on social media and also broadcast by some TV channels purportedly showed at least two assailants attacking a person lying on the road with sharp weapons even as vehicles zoomed past. The duo were then seen getting into another car and moving away from the spot.

The Telangana Bar Council condemned the brutal murder of the advocate couple and demanded that the police arrest the culprits immediately. It also demanded that government enact an Advocates Protection Act to safeguard the advocates community. Condemning the murder, both BJP and Congress demanded a high level probe into it.

State BJP president and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar demanded an enquiry by a sitting High Court Judge, while Telangana Congress President and MP N Uttam Reddy sought a CBI probe. Kumar said the lawyer couple had been fighting for the poor.

The couple had filed PILs) against the TRS government, he said and blamed "TRS goondas" for the murder. They were also arguing some "sensational" cases, the BJP leader claimed.  Reddy expressed concern over the murder of the lawyer couple in broad daylight.

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