Vizianagaram: Twelve people from Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh have been convicted for killing a couple on suspicion of practising witchcraft about four years ago. Second additional district court judge D Srinivasa Rao handed the life sentence to the convicts along with a fine of Rs 2,600 each on Friday.
Vizianagaram police chief B Raja Kumari said that the men, all residents of KothakaKamudu Valasa village under Makkuva police station, had beaten to death Golluri Pandu (40) and his wife Golluri Seethamma (35) on January 12, 2016, over suspected occult practices.
The convicts had claimed that they punished the couple for allegedly casting an evil influence on them through witchcraft after one of their relatives, 24-year-old J Srinivas, died of ill-health. The villagers attributed the death to the "evil designs" of the couple.
The group burnt the bodies, threw the ashes in a canal to destroy evidence. They also mercilessly thrashed the three daughters of the couple. The police launched a probe following a complaint by the couple’s elder daughter K Radha.
The then inspector of Salur police station, G Ramakrishna, investigated the case and arrested the 12 for the double murder. On Friday, the court also ordered the district legal services authority to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to Radha.
The convicts have been identified as P Venkata Rao, Jannu Ganga Raju, J Govinda, P Chadra Rao, J Dharma, P Tirupati, P Jogulu, J Sanyasi Rao, J Mukundha, P Jaggu, J Appala Swami and P Mallanna. They will now spend their entire life behind bars.