Andhra Pradesh tourism minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Bhuma Akhila Priya was arrested by Hyderabad police on Wednesday for her alleged involvement in the kidnapping of three distant relatives of Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao over a land dispute.
“We have taken Akhila Priya into custody from her residence in the morning and after preliminary interrogation and arrested her formally in the afternoon. She would be produced before a local court in Secunderabad for judicial remand later in the evening, after medical examination,” said Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar as reported by Hindustan Times.
The ex-minister’s husband Bhargav Ram and another senior TDP leader A V Subba Reddy were among several people who were allegedly involved in masterminding the kidnapping.
“We have formed special teams of the police for tracking and apprehending the other accused,” the commissioner said
As per reports, the three kidnapped individuals who were identified as K Praveen Rao, K Sunil Rao and K Naveen Rao are distantly related to the Telangana CM and cousins of KCR’s aide P Venugopal Rao.
“The brothers were said to be involved in a land dispute with the accused at Hafeezpet on the city’s outskirts. The details of the land issue are being probed,” the commissioner further said.
According to the commissioner, about 10 people barged into the residence of Praveen Rao at Bowenapally area late Tuesday night and introduced themselves as Income Tax officers. At that time, Praveen was living with his two brothers Sunil Rao and Naveen Rao.
“They separated the brothers from the rest of the family and asked them to sit in the hall, while forcing the others to go into a bedroom. Later, they whisked the three brothers away in a vehicle. The kidnappers also took away laptops and mobile phones from them,” the commissioner said.
After waiting for more than an hour in the bedroom, the other family members came out and realised that three men were kidnapped. They immediately alerted the police, who swung into action to track the kidnappers.
“We alerted our counterparts in the Cyberabad and Rachakonda police commissionerates and kept a tab on the movement of all vehicles on closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, besides mobile phone towers,” he said.
At around 3:30am midnight, the three brothers were released by the kidnappers on the outskirts of Hyderabad, before forcing them to sign some documents at a farmhouse where they were kept for a few hours.
“Based on the complaint given by the family members, we have arrested Akhila Priya. We are on the lookout for others,” the commissioner said.
According to Pratap Rao, another brother of Praveen Rao, there was a dispute between the accused and his family over 50 acres of land in which they were partners.
“Instead of settling the issue through legal means, they tried to intimidate our brothers. The issue has nothing to do with the chief minister’s family. So, please don’t drag the family into this,” Pratap Rao said.