A Sessions Court in Adoni in Kurnool district on Wednesday sentenced 23 persons to life imprisonment for their involvement in the brutal murder of gangster Palegar Venkatappa Naidu, known for his proximity to TDP leaders.
Eight others were also killed in the May 18, 2008 incident, when members of a rival faction rammed a truck into the jeep in which Naidu (63) was traveling near Kudumoor junction.
The occupants of the jeep were stuck when assailants started to throw crude bombs at them and attacked them with sickles and swords. The incident created a furore in Kurnool and led to more revenge killings. The Kurnool Police arrested 48 persons, of which 25 were acquitted. Of the remaining 23, three persons died while the trial was going on, while prime accused Muduleti Naidu — the alleged mastermind — is absconding.
Several Telugu films have been made on Naidu’s life story. His name figured in several violent clashes which claimed the lives of more than 200 people. It all started when, at 28, he was elected sarpanch of Kapatrala village. He was considered close to TDP leader K E Krishna Murthy, now the Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.
Naidu survived at least 12 murder attempts, including one in March 1980 when he was stabbed multiple times by his rivals and left to die on the street. In March 1981, he survived another attempt when rivals hurled at least 8 crude bombs at him.
On Wednesday, as hundreds gathered outside the Adoni Sessions Court to know about the verdict, heavy security was deployed to prevent any untoward incident.