Hyderabad: A day after former TDP Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya was arrested in a kidnap case, Hyderabad police informed the court that her custody was important since her husband and co-accused Bhargava Ram is still absconding.This is after the opposite party moved the court seeking bail for the politician.

On January 6, ex-minister Bhuma Akhila Priya her husband Bhargava Ram and A.V Subba Reddy were booked for kidnapping three brothers including Praveen, Naveen, and Sunil Rao from Hyderabad over land dispute in Hafeezpet.

How Akhila Priya, husband Ram hatched the kidnap plan

At around 7.20 PM on January 5, 10 to 15 men posing as Income tax officials stormed the house of law student Katakaneni Manish, 22, at Manovikas Nagar in Secunderabad. One among them was wearing a police uniform holding a stick. They began searching the premise. Manish's family was shown a fake warrant issued against three brothers--- Praveen, Naveen, and Sunil Rao (paternal uncles of Manish). Some of the family members were confined to a hall, while others were asked to stay in the bedroom.

Twenty minutes later, Manish's aunty Sarita (spouse to Sunil) who happens to be their neighbor came to their rescue. She opened the door latch which allowed the housemates to venture out. By then, the men took the three uncles Praveen, Naveen, and Sunil in three different cars and zoomed away. The lid blew off when Manish found that the men were not government officials but kidnappers. The family dialed 100 at 8.10 PM.

"In September 2020, Praveen Rao filed a complaint against AV Subba Rao in a land issue which culminated in the kidnap. Hyderabad, Cyberabad and Rachakonda police based on CCTV analysis, description of the vehicle and number plates (some of them turned out to be fake) and with the help of Andhra Pradesh police traced the kidnappers," Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar said.

He noted that multiple teams from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh police were tracking the kidnappers using their cell phone location. A high alert was issued at toll plazas in Telangana and inter-state en route.

Behind the scene

During cell phone tracking, police found their location at Suncity near Mehdipatnam. When the teams rushed to the spot, the victims were found abandoned near Kalimatha temple.

The victims were taken to a farmhouse where they were beaten up with sticks and they were asked to sign some documents including blank papers. During this time, the victims overheard the kidnappers conversing with a woman whom they were referring to as "Akhila Madam and Bhargava Sir and Subba Reddy".

After some time the culprits received calls with instructions to release the victims as the news of their abduction had hogged the headlines. Following the call, the kidnapper abandoned them near Kalimatha temple.

The victims also overheard the name of Srinivas Rao alias Srinu Chowdhary, Sai, Chanti, and Prakash. Knowing the cops were tracking them, the kidnappers left the three victims at Narsingi. Later the trio was rescued safely.

Bhuma Akhila Priya made accused

A day after the arrest, TDP Minister Akhila Priya was made accused number one, while her husband Bhargava Ram was named as accused number two. Accused number 3 AV Subba Reddy was released from custody and has been asked to appear for questioning.

Hyderabad police have booked Akhila Priya, Bhargava Ram and A. V Subba Rao under section 452 (trespass), 419(cheating by impersonation), 341 (punishment for wrongful restrain), 506(criminal intimidation), 149(unlawful assembly), 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 147(gathering with purpose of riot), 342(assault) of Indian Penal Code.

Telangana police have sent teams to Andhra Pradesh to nab Srinivas Chowdhary alias Guntur Srinu, Prakash, Sai, and Chanti. "Akhila Priya and A.V Subba Reddy are the prime accused in planning," the Hyderabad commissioner said.

Family background of victims

Praveen Rao is the fourth sibling in the Rao family. Eldest brother Kiran and second Pratap (a lawyer by profession) live in Mahbubnagar of Telangana, while Praveen, Naveen, and Sunil Rao reside in Hyderabad. The family is into a real-estate business. A long time ago Praveen Rao represented Andhra Pradesh at the national level in the game of hockey.

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