Updated: November 24, 2015 12:24:22 am
The murder of Chittoor mayor Katari Anuradha and her husband Katari Mohan was, the police have concluded, an act of revenge by a nephew sulking at being ignored after he had worked alongside the couple as they rose in politics, a role that allegedly included attacks on rivals and murder.
Chittoor police are hunting for Sriram Chandrasekhar Reddy, also known as Chintu, the nephew of the mayor who was shot dead along with her husband on Tuesday in her chambers at the Chittoor Municipal Corporation building.
“Chintu led the murderous attack on the couple. He is the main accused and absconding,” Chittoor SP G Srinivas said, “but we have in our custody three others who participated in the attack. Investigations so far have revealed a power struggle was going on between the couple and Chintu who wanted his share of the spoils after Anuradha became mayor. He wanted Katari Mohan to project him as a TDP leader and insisted people coming to meet the mayor be sent to meet him too. There were lots of bruised egos and financial disputes between them.”
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Chintu had campaigned with Anuradha on her way to being elected mayor in July 2014. “Chintu was also very close to Katari Mohan, who was the TDP district vice-president. Mohan executed all his political moves through Chintu. It seems there was a showdown a few months ago and they fell apart,’’ a TDP leader from Chittoor said.
Chintu, 40, is a marine engineer who passed out from Mumbai in 1994. He joined the merchant navy and worked for a UAE-based shipping company, then returned to Chittoor in 2002, around the time Katari Mohan was beginning to rise in the ranks.
Mohan had a powerful rival in C K Jayachandra Reddy, several times Congress MLA, who faced 27 cases including of murder. The TDP wrested the assembly seat from Reddy in 2004 but in the Chittoor municipal elections the same year, Katari Mohan was defeated by a close aide of Reddy. In 2006, Karnataka police arrested Chintu and Mohan while they were allegedly planning to attack Reddy. Out on bail, Chintu was allegedly behind another attack on Reddy in February 2007, when hired men stormed his office and started shooting. Reddy survived; the attack killed his bodyguard and an electrician.
On December 31, 2007, Chintu allegedly caused a landmine explosion that vlew up a vehicle in which Reddy was travelling on the outskirts of Chittoor. Reddy survived again but a policeman died. Mohan fled to Karnataka from where he was arrested in March 2008. In 2009, Mohan did not get the Chittoor assembly ticket and Reddy won the seat for a fourth time.
Mohan was later released on bail and he and Chintu went back to their granite mining, real estate and agriculture businesses. “Mohan spent a lot of time in Bengaluru but used to visit Chittoor often where Anuradha and their son Praveen lived,” a TDP leader said. “After the TDP came to power in May 2014 and his wife was elected mayor, he shifted back to Chittoor. All these years, Chintu stuck with Mohan and his aunt.”
After Anuradha became mayor, the leader said, Chintu started flexing his muscle. “He began pressuring her by propping his contractors for civil works and water tanker projects. He started interfering in municipal corporation affairs,” a police officer said. “Also, Chintu was detained once for threatening an inspector who insisted on checking his vehicle while entering the court premises. All this created friction between Chintu and the Katari couple. The faction led by Chintu, who is also associated with the TDP, tried to take control of the marketing yard which escalated tensions.”
Officials are also investigating the sand and granite mining business jointly run by Chintu and Mohan, in which disputes had arisen over sharing of profits.
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